DC Council Supports Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Act

October 22, 2014

Yesterday, the Council voted unanimously to bring to a vote* Bill 20-708, Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Amendment Act of 2014. The bill, introduced by Councilmember Bowser, sets the groundwork for a $100 million a year investment in the Trust Fund. CNHED has worked for a year to build support for an annual commitment of $100 million to the Trust Fund, through testimony, ward town hall meetings, and the Housing For All Rally. The legislation is subject to appropriation, so no funds are committed now, but it demonstrates that like us, the DC Council believes the Housing Production Trust Fund needs $100 million a year to create and keep affordable housing in DC.

“The Housing Production Trust Fund is the District’s premier tool for producing and preserving affordable housing….The District needs to get serious about consistent funding year to year for affordable housing creation and preservation. I would really like to acknowledge as well the really important efforts of the Housing For All Campaign.” – Councilmember Bowser, introducing the legislation

Councilmembers Catania, Bonds, Orange, Evans and Barry also spoke out for the need for consistent affordable housing investment through the Housing Production Trust Fund.

Advocate with us!

*The Council will now hold two votes to pass this legislation. Come out to the votes to continue to show the DC Council that we need a $100 million Housing Production Trust Fund.
Schedule:
First vote: October 28
Expected final vote: November 18

Time: 11:00 am
Location: John A Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, , Room 500.

You can also follow on twitter @cnhed #100m4hptf

Housing For All: Home is Where the Heart Is

October 16, 2014

Youth and Adult Writing Contest

At CNHED’s Housing For All Campaign, we know home is important. A home is a special place. A place where we love and take care of ourselves, and where we take care of each other. Submit your essay, poem, or story that tells us about the home that is in your heart, and you could win a prize! Submissions are due Monday, December 15. We encourage everyone to share their stories as we work to win Housing For All in DC. Download the Flier Housing For All Rally 2014 106b Writing Winners

Prompt: We all know the phrase “Home is where the heart is.” What does it mean to you? Share your heartfelt story with us.

Prizes:
First Prize: $100 Gift Certificate
Second Prize: $50 Gift Certificate
Third Prize: $25 Gift Certificate
Awarded in both youth and adult categories

Contest Guidelines:

  • Submissions should be no more than 500 words- essay, story or poetry accepted
  • Submissions are due December 15, 2014
  • Submissions and questions should be directed to Elizabeth Falcon: housingforall@cnhed.orgDSCN4788
  • Authors should state if they are applying in the adult or youth category. (Authors over 18 should submit in the “adult” category)
  • Authors who have won in previous years are not eligible to win again
  • Winners will be informed by January 15, 2015
  • Winners will be recognized at the Housing for All Rally - details will be announced to all participants. All are welcome to attend. The first place winner in each category will be asked to read their winning submission
  • Any submissions become the property of CNHED. Winning entries will be published on our blog www.housingforallblog.org .  All publications will credit the author

(more…)

How many hours do you have work to afford market rent with DC’s new minimum wage?

August 11, 2014

(hint: a lot)

On July 1, the DC minimum wage increased to $9.50 an hour. This increase will help an estimated 40,000 DC workers who will now bring home more money each week. We wondered, with DC’s increased minimum wage, how close does that get workers to affording market rent in DC. So we reached out to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, who track the relationship between wages and housing costs in states across the country.

Here’s their updated analysis for DC’s new minimum wage:

In the District of Columbia, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,469. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities – without paying more than 30% of income on housing – a household must earn $4,897 monthly or $58,760 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of: $28.25

In the District of Columbia, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $9.50. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 119 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or a household must include 3.0 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.

In the District of Columbia, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $25.52. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 44 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.1 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.

Before the minimum wage increase, NLIHC calculated that a worker would need to work 137 hours per week to afford fair market rent. Increasing the minimum wage is going a long way to improve the lives of DC’s low wage workers and close the gap between wages and housing cost. This will continue to improve as the wage increases over the next two years,  to $11.50 in 2016. However, even with these increases, the cost of housing in the open market will remain unaffordable for many minimum wage workers, even with multiple adults in the home, and working more than one job.

Housing For All Year in Review!

July 17, 2014

We had a busy year, that led to lots of wins! Here’s a refresher of all the activities we did. 

October: Housing For All Learning Circle – Facilitated discussions on what causes gentrification and urban change, identified volunteers and advocates

November 16: Ward 8 Housing Fair and Town Hall – 100+ people attended and over a dozen organizations participated in the housing fair to help address housing issues. Sponsored by CPDC, Manna, Anacostia River Realty, and Bread for the City. Councilmembers Bonds and Bowser attended, plus Michael Kelly.

November 20: Ward 3 Housing Town Hall – 75 people attended, cosponsored by Good Faith Communities. Councilmember Cheh attended. Speakers included Nancy Hooff, Somerset Development and Sonya Hochevar, CPDC.

December 13: Senior Housing Town Hall – Cosponsored with DC Senior Advisory Coalition and DC AARP. 100 people attended as well as  Councilmember Bonds, staff from Cheh, Graham and McDuffie, plus Michael Kelly. Held at NCBA Estates.

December 10: Meeting of CNHED’s For Profit members to support Housing For All –

December 20: Rally and Vigil for the Homeless – Sponsored by People For Fairness Coalition. Overnight vigil and two rallies totaling over 100 people, Mayor Gray and Councilmember Cheh, Wells, Grosso, Graham and candidate Andy Shallal visited the action.

Late December: Mayor Gray, Chairman Mendelson, and Councilmember McDuffie commit end-of-year surplus funds to Housing Production Trust Fund

January 11 & 15: Postcard Delivery to Candidates for Mayor  – after collecting 1,000 postcards in support of a Continuum of housing, 30 Housing For All supporters delivered actual and enlarged postcards to Mayoral candidates Evans, Wells, Bowser and Shallal. We also brought an enlarged postcard to Mayor Gray at his campaign kick-off event.

February 1: Housing For All NOW Rally – 500 people attended in addition to Mayor Gray, Councilmembers Graham, Bowser, Bonds, Wells, and Evans, plus Director Kelly and Director Todman. Winners from Housing For All writing Competition and resident leaders participated in program.

February and March Housing Advocacy Training – Over 50 people attended the 4-week training, in Petworth and Congress Heights. Participants also met with Bonds staff member Brittney Madison and Councilmember Grosso.

March 11: Hearing on legislation to end chronic homelessness by 2020 – presented ICH recommendations to Committee on Human Services, chaired by Councilmember Graham. CNHED members testified, presented sign-on letter from over 40 organizations.

March 25: CNHED staff meet with Mendelson – one-on-one meeting with Mendelson to raise concerns for upcoming budget.

March 26: Housing Production Trust Fund Organizational Support Letter – delivered a letter to Mayor Gray signed by 60 organizations including tenant associations, labor, nonprofits, churches, and community groups that support committing $100 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund this year, and every year.

March 27: Call in day to Mayor Gray for $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund

April 3: Mayor Released budget with increases in Housing Production Trust Fund, Local Rent Supplement Program and Permanent Supportive Housing

April 8: Unanimous passage of legislation to end chronic homelessness by 2020

April 30: Email action to Councilmember Bowser, Chair of Committee on Economic Development –  Emails sent to encourage Councilmember Bowser to lead in achieving $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund.

May 2: DHCD Budget Hearing – Over 30 people testified in support of the Housing For All Campaign, across the Continuum of Housing, including two panels focused on LRSP for production, a panel from the for-profit sector, and first-time testifiers from the Housing Advocacy Training.

May 3: Tenant Town Hall – Over 200 residents focused on the needs to preserve and improve the low-cost rental housing we have. Councilmember Graham attended.

May 2 & 6: Resident Leadership Team/Campaign Coordinators meetings with Council offices of Grosso, Catania, and McDuffie

May 9: Budget Support Act hearing – 2 panels of residents and practitioners in support of dedicating 50% of end of year surplus to the Housing Production Trust fund

May 12: Email to support affordable homeownership to Councilmember Bowser – Emails sent focusing on HPAP and East of the River Homeownership

May 15: Face to Face gallery of DC’s homeless residents  – in partnership with Fair Budget Coalition and others, photo exhibit and rally to highlight the diverse community of homeless individuals, families, and youth in DC and how affordable housing can provide housing.

May 19: CNHED Advocacy Day – Over 100 people attended and met with all Council offices. Opening remarks provided by Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Grosso. Resident leaders presented Housing For All asks.

May 25:  All-Council meeting – emergency action to encourage Council to discuss plans to restore HPAP and increase Housing Production Trust Fund in the all-Council meeting. About 10 people attended from campaign and Manna.

May 28: Budget Vote Day – increases committed to Housing Production Trust Fund, Local Rent Supplement, Permanent Supportive Housing, and HPAP.

June 9 – 10: Walk arounds with Campaign Coordinators and Resident Leadership Team to discuss BSA

June 24: BSA Vote: No changes to housing programs.

Join Housing For All to support $100 Million for the Housing Production Trust Fund

July 9, 2014

On Monday, the DC Council will vote on legislation introduced by Councilmember Bowser that would require $100 million each year to be dedicated to the Housing Production Trust Fund. CNHED has  advocated for $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund, and are pleased the Council shares our concern.We are hopeful that this legislation will lead to $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund in next year’s budget

But we’re not there yet.

Please join us for the vote to show our Councilmembers that DC residents are passionate about affordable housing and demand that the District invest in the Housing Production Trust Fund so it can invest in our communities. Help us fill the hearing room with a sea of yellow t-shirts on Monday. If you don’t have a shirt, we’ll bring you one.

Monday, July 14, 10:00 AM
Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Room 500

Email Elizabeth to RSVP: efalcon@cnhed.org

Budget Update: CNHED advocacy wins increases across the Continuum of Housing

May 29, 2014

Yesterday, the DC Council voted on the DC Budget, reflecting increases by both the Mayor and the Council to provide affordable housing to DC residents.

TOTAL Wins

  • $79.3 million total commitment for the Housing Production Trust Fund
  • $3 million increase to the Local Rent Supplement Program for the production of affordable rental housing
  • $4 million increase to the Local Rent Supplement Program in tenant-based vouchers
  • $7 million increase to Permanent Supportive Housing to support chronically homeless vets and families
  • $1 million restoration to the Home Purchase Assistance Program, with an increase in maximum loan amount from $40,000 to $50,000.
  • $300 thousand for the East End Homeownership Campaign
  • $1 million for a pilot program to fund a DC Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Additional funds were committed to fund a stronger homeless services system including coordinated entry system for individuals, increases to Rapid Rehousing, and many of the program improvements included in the Roadmap to Help Families Home.

A tremendous victory for CNHED’s housing advocacy is the fact that the Mayor’s budget started with a baseline increase of $30 million in one-time funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund. One of the biggest surprises that occurred yesterday was an increase of $8.7 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund identified by Chairman Mendelson and passed by the DC Council.  These funds were unspent capital dollars in the Department of Behavioral Health budget which would have been lost if they had not been moved to the Trust Fund. They are still dedicated to be used for the production of housing for people with serious mental or emotional illness. With this increase, the Housing Production Trust Fund will have a total of  $79.3 million next year.

Unfortunately, none of the Councilmembers chose to recognize the importance of the Trust Fund in the vote discussions yesterday, or acknowledge that the Trust Fund is still short of the $100 million goal many of them have advocated for. [See this post for references to Councilmember support for that $100 million.]We will continue to call on the Council to join with us and increase the total Housing Production Trust Fund commitment to $100 million this year and in future years.

Housing Production Trust Fund invests in our communities

May 22, 2014

The Housing Production Trust Fund is the back bone of affordable housing in DC. Last year, DC invested in the Trust Fund so it could invest in our communities. What happened? The District built, preserved, or rehabbed homes for 1,260 families and individuals. Here’s a snapshot of where the Trust Fund will be invested in our communities:

The 19 Housing Developments with Trust Fund Commitments:

    • 1,260 homes
    • 321 Special Needs homes; of those, 123 are Permanent Supportive Housing
    • 27% benefit residents at 30% or below AMI; 37% benefit residents at 50% or below AMI; 83% benefit residents at 60% or below AMI
    • Combined TDC = $344.38 M
    • Total HPTF commitment = $93.44 M
    • HPTF leverages other funding by a factor of 2.7

 

The Council is still considering how much to invest in the Housing Production Trust Fund as part of this year’s budget. It is a crucial moment for them to work to reach the $100 million level that eight members of the Council have supported this winter through attending rallies and introducing legislation.

Below you can check out profiles of housing developments that have benefited from the Trust Fund.

 

Love the Fund? Fund the Fund.

May 20, 2014

Councilmembers, you say you support $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund, will you now fund it?

This winter, members of the DC Council expressed their support for $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund in public forums across the District.

Councilmembers Bonds, Bowser, Evans, Graham, and Wells stood in support of CNHED’s housing priorities at the Housing For All NOW Rally on February 1, 2014. The event stressed the importance of $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund.

At CNHED’s Ward 8 Housing Town Hall when asked directly if they supported $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund, Councilmembers Bonds and Bowser stated an unqualified “Yes!”

Legislation was even introduced:

“The HPTF [Housing Production Trust Fund] should be funded annually at a minimum of $100 million so the Department of Housing and Community Development may increase and expand its efforts to create and preserve affordable housing across the District” – Written by Bowser, co-introduced by Graham, Cheh, Orange, Bonds[1]

“Develop a ten-year $1,000,000,000 affordable housing plan that provides for $100,000,000 per annum to increase, build, and modernize affordable housing in the District of Columbia” – Written by Orange, co-introduced by Bonds, Barry, Graham and sponsored by Bowser, Cheh, and Wells.[2]  

And yet, no member of the Council has committed any additional funds to invest in the Housing Production Trust Fund, and it is still $29.4 million short of your stated goal.

Now is the time for the Council to make good on your commitment to the Housing Production Trust Fund. The budget proposed by Mayor Gray is $29.4 million short of $100 million.  The Council must act for the Housing Production Trust Fund to receive the funding it needs in Fiscal Year 2015.

[1] Bill 20-708, the Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Act of 2014

[2] Bill 20-713, the District of Columbia Affordable Housing Act of 2014

To address homelessness, we need affordable housing

May 14, 2014

Adapted from the testimony of Bob Pohlman, Executive Director of CNHED to the Committee of the Whole hearing on the Budget Support Act. 

For the third year in a row, budget discussions have focused on homeless families living at DC General and in hotels. Much attention has focused on how to take families out of homelessness, but very little time is spent discussing why they are there in the first place and what we can do to prevent homelessness.  The simple fact is the District has a severe shortage of affordable housing and the problem is only going to get worse. As the city’s population grows by more than a thousand residents each month, we continue to lose affordable rental housing.  The DC Fiscal Policy Institute reports that the District has lost half of its low-cost rental units over the last decade. As this continues, it is becoming increasingly difficult for low income residents – even with federal and local rent subsidy vouchers – to find apartments in many neighborhoods of the city.

This is why the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development believes we must commit to building additional affordable housing stock and preserving the affordable housing we already have.  The Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force took that same position calling for the production of 10,000 new units by 2020 and the preservation of 8,000 existing affordable units.  The Interagency Council on Homelessness has adopted a production schedule that would provide sufficient permanent supportive housing, financed by the Trust Fund along with the sponsor-based Local Rent Supplement Program, to eliminate chronic homelessness for individuals and families by 2020. If we instead continue to focus our attention only on the “crisis” of homelessness and fail to increase the stock of affordable housing, we continue to fail these families and individuals, providing them with only an overcrowded shelter system, and no real strategies to prevent homelessness or provide permanent affordable housing.

To turn this tide, CNHED strongly supports the goal of investing $100 million annually in the Housing Production Trust Fund.  The FY 2015 proposed budget directs $40 million of dedicated deed tax to the Trust Fund.  The FY 2014 Supplemental budget adds another $30.2 million.  We urge the Council to approve both of these budgets and seek to find $29.4 million of one-time funding to fill the gap.  We are pleased that the Budget Support Act would commit 50 percent of future year-end unrestricted surpluses to the Trust Fund once required reserves have been achieved.  But we do not expect this to begin in the next year.  In the meantime, we cannot afford to lose the momentum we have achieved in housing production.  I have attached to my testimony a chart of projects that show how Trust Fund dollars are being put to good use.  Out of 1,260 homes financed by the Trust Fund in 2013,  321 were for households with special needs and 123 of those were for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and families. The Trust Fund produces rental housing that will remain affordable for at least forty years and not be affected by rising rents in the District.

The District needs to commit to the production and preservation of a Continuum of Housing affordable to all.  This should include investing $2 million more in sponsor-based Local Rent Supplement to provide operating support to newly produced units of permanent supportive housing.  We also need to support homeownership, which is the best way to protect low and moderate income residents from being displaced as housing prices top pre-recession levels.

Amazing before and after pics will make you wonder why DC isn’t fully funding the HPTF

May 14, 2014

The Housing Production Trust Fund can do lots of awesome things for our city, including turning dilapidated buildings into vibrant community spaces. Michael Wiencek, president of Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners came to show the DC Council some examples of work his firm has done to renovate homes in Washington, DC and call for $100 million a year commitment to the Housing Production Trust Fund. Many of the renovations they have worked on would not have been possible without the Trust Fund. Check out these stunning before and after pictures.