The Washington, D.C. Council restored $18 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund when they approved the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. Thanks to months of advocacy, nearly $25 million will be invested to the Continuum of Housing including this commitment to the Trust Fund, an additional $4 million to the Local Rent Supplement Program to provide additional tenant-based vouchers, and $2.5 million to the Home Purchase Assistance Program.
Housing for All, a campaign of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, engaged residents and other advocates in a multi-tiered campaign to make sure Council members understood the importance of funding the Housing Production Trust Fund. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has taken some $38 million out of the Housing Production Trust Fund over the last two years. The Fund is supported through revenues from the Deed Recordation and Transfer Tax.
The Trust Fund has created more than 7,000 homes in its ten-year history and another 1,000 homes are in various stages of development. Yet over the last decade, the District has lost 20,000 affordable homes. Priorities of the Housing Production Trust Fund are to preserve affordable housing and produce high-quality new affordable housing.
In March, Housing for All held Housing Town Hall Meetings in Wards 4 and 7. More than 50 people came out to Christ Lutheran Church to the Town Hall Meeting, co-hosted with Transitional Housing Corporation, and nearly 70 joined the meeting in Ward 7 at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization. The stories shared by residents highlighted the need for safe affordable homes in these communities where they had grown up, raised children, volunteered, and helped sustain the vitality of these neighborhoods.
In April, the Campaign held a Housing for All Rally with more than 100 demonstrators. In addition to a premiere showing of the disappearing housing budget demonstration, participants were encouraged to testify in front of the Department of Housing and Community Development—the administering agency of the Housing Production Trust Fund. Participants used shared language around housing as the foundation of every community.
With more than 6,000 homeless people and at least 50,000 households paying more than half of their income for housing, fully funding the Housing Production Trust Fund is a necessary component in providing a stable home for everyone throughout the District’s neighborhoods. At the City Council Committee on Housing and Workforce Development budget oversight hearing, District residents testified in favor of restoring cuts made to the Housing Production Trust Fund.
Throughout May, the Housing for All Campaign advocates tweeted members of the DC Council with their vision of Housing for All.
D.C. Council Chairman, Kwame R. Brown finalized his budget priorities and made affordable housing the cornerstone of his plan. The $18 million budgeted for the Housing Production Trust Fund was made possible by the pending sale of a city building in Ward 6. During the budget session, several Council members, including Brown, highlighted the value of the Trust Fund and added an additional provision that could use future revenue to fund the Trust Fund if the sale of the building is delayed.
Bob Pohlman, Executive Director of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development reflects on advocates’ optimism for the Housing Production Trust Fund: “We’re gratified that the Housing for All Campaign has begun to change the conversation about affordable housing in the District of Columbia.”
Indeed, the Housing for All Campaign has possibly turned the tide for the Housing Production Trust Fund building an impressive case for the importance of investing in affordable homes throughout the District and regaining the revenues originally intended to sustain the Fund and its initiatives.
Contact: Bob Pohlman or Elizabeth Falcon, Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, 1432 U Street, N.W., 1st floor annex, Washington, D.C. 20009 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or 202-745¬0902 housingforallblog.org