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D.C. Deploys $13M In Rental Assistance, Allows Landlords To Apply For Additional Funds

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Planning Director Andrew Trueblood at an October event

With many renters struggling to pay their monthly bills during the coronavirus pandemic, the District is continuing to provide rental assistance to tenants and landlords.  

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday the D.C. government has expended $13M in federal funding through two programs, and it is preparing to deploy more money.

The District provided 4,500 households with Housing Stabilization Grants totaling $11.5M, more than the $10M initially announced for the program. It said 60% of the households receiving funds were in Wards 7 and 8. 

It provided another $1.5M through the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program. The recipients of those funds had an average annual income below $37K. 

Bowser also announced that landlords may now apply on behalf of tenants for rental assistance through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program. The Department of Housing and Community Development launched the program in June with $6.2M, but it didn't say how much money is available from it today.

“We know that while it’s important to invest in our rental assistance programs, it’s even more critical that we get those dollars out the door and into the community,” Bowser said in a release. “It will take a coordinated community effort to overcome the economic burdens caused by the pandemic. We look forward to working with our housing [providers] to quickly provide relief to tenants through these innovative programs.”  

The District is also eligible for a major new boost of rental assistance money from the federal government. The $900B relief package passed in December included $25B for the Department of the Treasury to launch a rental assistance program. The Treasury Department last month released new details for the program, revealing that D.C. is eligible for up to $200M in rental assistance. 

Bowser announced Jan. 29 she formed a new advisory group, including several real estate executives, to help her administration address challenges in the rental housing market. 

The group, called the Saving D.C. Rental Housing Market Strike Force, has nearly 30 members, including Dantes Partners principal Buwa Binitie, Bernstein Cos. CEO Josh Bernstein, JBG Smith Executive Vice President A.J. Jackson, Borger Management CEO Tom Borger and Small Multifamily Owners Association CEO Dean Hunter