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D.C. Hands Out $135M Toward New Affordable Housing Projects, Including First In Ward 3

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks outside the Chevy Chase Community Center on Dec. 16.

After years of falling behind the rest of city in the production of new housing, Northwest D.C.'s Ward 3 will see its first affordable project funded by the District's Housing Production Trust Fund. 

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser in a press release Wednesday announced the first round of projects to be funded by the HPTF this year. The fund will disburse a combined $135.5M.

The Ward 3 project, part of a redevelopment of the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home, will produce 93 new units of affordable senior housing, per the release. The announcement is the latest step in Bowser's goal to build 36,000 new housing units between 2019 and 2025, with at least 12,000 affordable units.

"I set bold goals for new housing, for new affordable housing, and for new affordable housing in every neighborhood of the District because we know where you live affects your pathway to the middle class," Bowser said in the release. "Today’s selections move us closer to all three of those goals and particularly getting us to a more equitable distribution of affordable housing in the city."

The 10 new projects selected touch every ward in the District except Ward 2.

In addition to the Lisner project, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and EYA, in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, received funding to develop 93 new units of affordable senior housing on a vacant lot at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue NE. The project is APAH's first in the city after it announced in 2019 it was expanding beyond Northern Virginia.

The mayor's office didn't provide a breakdown of the affordability of the units in each project; each is listed as providing "affordable housing at a range of income levels." 

The Department of Housing and Community Development is still working with the District Council on how it should track the affordability of the projects it pursues, Interim Director Drew Hubbard told Bisnow in an interview Thursday.

He said that the number of units affordable to different income bands may change between the time the HPTF commits funds and the project is completed.

"This is a priority for us to make sure that we are funding projects and pursuing them for extremely low-income individuals," Hubbard said. "We have already made policy changes to move in that direction, and frankly, there is some lag in what we get."

Those discussions occur in the wake of a report released by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General in October that found that the Housing Production Trust Fund misused nearly $82M meant to go toward those earning up to 30% of the area median income, classified as extremely low-income residents. 

In response, the department vowed to spend $63.2M toward "deeply affordable units," including those making up to 30% AMI, in fiscal year 2022.

DHCD wasn't able to confirm how close these latest projects will bring the department to that goal. It also didn't respond to inquiries about how much funding each project received as of press time.

Other projects receiving the first HPTF funds in 2022 include a 52-unit Ward 1 project from Jubilee Housing, a 151-unit project in Edgewood from Enterprise Community Development, a 115-unit project in NoMa/Union Market from Marshall Heights Community Development Corp. and NRP, and a 67-unit senior housing project from Miller Housing and Justice Housing in Ward 8.