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DC Could Use More White Houses (Or Any Houses)

The DC region’s affordable housing is facing an alarming shortage.


As the population grows, so will the need for housing for low-income people. Recent stats show that the region needs 94,200 affordable housing units to meet future demand, according to a report released by the GMU Center for Regional Analysis and the Urban Institute. The gap in DC is the highest at 22,000, followed by Prince George’s and Montgomery counties showing gaps of about 18,200. One problem is that many affordable housing units are being occupied by people with higher incomes. One solution may be to create more affordable units for this slightly higher income population. The report was presented by GMU's Terry Clower (at the podium) and Urban Institute's Peter Tatian (seated) part of the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developer’s annual conference.


A panel discussion led to a call for viewing the problem as a social justice issue, not just a real estate issue. Others called for: more government involvement and more funding for housing programs; removing obstacles for private developers to build affordable housing; focusing on creating safe neighborhoods with good schools that include affordable housing; asking developers to be innovative with how to incorporate affordable housing in new projects; fixing traffic congestion so that people aren’t having to pay a premium to live close to jobs; and having the political will to make the problem a regional priority.