April 16, 2014
Every year we work with you to make sure DC passes a budget that addresses the housing needs of District residents. We count on you to help us tell the story of why it is so important to make these housing investments. Here are our recommendations for the FY15 budget.
Commit at least $100 million each year for the Housing Production Trust Fund by increasing the amount of ongoing and one-time funding in the FY15 budget to reach $100 million this year, and committing future end of year surplus funds to the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund budget proposed by the Mayor is currently $29.1 million short of $100 million.
- The Housing Production Trust Fund is the backbone of housing preservation and development in DC. It is crucial to keeping and expanding the affordable housing needed for DC families and individuals. The Trust Fund plays a key role in:
- The preservation of existing affordable housing
- Building new affordable housing to rent or purchase
- Reaching the ICH’s production goals to end chronic homelessness by 2020
- Allowing tenants to purchase their buildings and preserve it as affordable
- Throughout the last few months, many councilmembers have introduced legislation or spoken out in support of $100 million for the Trust Fund.
- It is crucial that funding remain available for Tenant Purchase opportunities year round. DHCD should reserve $20 million within a fully funded $100 million Trust Fund to allow that program to work for hundreds of low income residents.
- We support the Budget Support Act language committing one half of all unrestricted surplus dollars to the Housing Production Trust Fund once savings obligations are met.
Fund the ICH plan to end chronic homelessness by 2020. This requires an increase of $1.2 million for services and at least $1.8 million for leasing in the Department of Human Services budget.
- The Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) plan lays out a roadmap to end chronic homelessness by 2020, requiring increased funding each year. This year, the budget is still short reaching that goal.
- The DC Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the end of chronic homelessness by 2020, following the ICH plan.
Commit $4 million to the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) to to help District residents transition from renting to homeownership. The HPAP program saw a $1.5 million cut in Mayor Gray’s budget, even with increased demand this year.
- The BSA should reflect an increase in the maximum allowable HPAP loan amount to $50,000 per applicant. The HPAP loan amounts were cut during the recession in conjunction with HPAP program cuts. Lower loan amounts severely limit the number of homes that are HPAP eligible in a rapidly rising housing market.
- We support the $300,000 commitment made in Mayor Gray’s budget to support new homeowners East of the River. This additional outreach should increase the pool of potential HPAP recipients, which would in turn require increased funding for HPAP.
Commit $2 million to the Local Rent Supplement Program to increase the production of housing for residents with extremely low incomes and for permanent supportive housing. LRSP is crucial to the production of rental housing for extremely low income families in the District. It is also a key component in the plan to end chronic homelessness by 2020. An increase of $2 million would allow for the production of permanent supportive housing and other housing for extremely low income residents.
- We also support increasing LRSP to provide additional tenant-based vouchers but do not have a budget recommendation at this time.
April 9, 2014
Chronic homelessness continues to be a critical moral and social problem, one that is costly in terms of dollars and human suffering. But it is a solvable problem….
It is the sense of the Council that: The District is committed to ending chronic homelessness by no later than 2020. To achieve this goal, the District’s [Interagency Council on Homelessness] ICH must coordinate the investment of sufficient resources to plan and create the 2,679 permanent supportive housing units needed to end chronic homelessness by no later than 2020.
These quotes come from a resolution passed unanimously by the DC Council yesterday committing to ending chronic homelessness by 2020. This resolution does not require them to take any future steps or commit any funding, but it does tell us that the DC Council supports ending chronic homelessness in DC. We thank all the Councilmembers who stood together calling for an end to chronic homelessness. As the they consider the budget over the next few months, we need to make sure they keep their commitment and fund the programs that will make chronic homelessness history.
CNHED has been very active in creating the Interagency Council on Homelessness’s plan to end chronic homelessness, and advocated that the Mayor and Council fully fund the plan in this year’s budget. The Mayor’s budget included an increase of over $4 million to serve individual veterans who are experiencing chronic homelessness. This is a good start, but does not fully meet the funding needed in the first year of the plan, and will not serve any chronically homeless families who are currently stuck in DC’s family shelter system. Additional funds will be needed this year, and the District needs to fund the programs according to the plan each year. We will be working with the Council to make sure that the ICH plan is funded this year and in future years, and are counting on you to work with us.
March 26, 2014
This week we delivered a letter to Mayor Gray signed by 60 organizations that support committing $100 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund this year, and every year. See the letter and the organizations that support the Housing Production Trust Fund below.
Dear Mayor Gray,
The undersigned organizations urge your support of the Housing Production Trust Fund, with annual funding of at least $100 million to achieve the District’s housing goals.
The Housing Production Trust Fund is crucial to the diversity and economic prosperity of the residents of Washington, DC. Thousands of District residents have been impacted by the rapidly increasing cost of housing. These rising costs are leading workers to pay more than half their income in rent, forcing many to live doubled up or in low-quality apartments, and contributing to the high rates of homelessness experienced by families in the District. The Housing Production Trust Fund is an essential tool needed to address these issues. The Trust Fund has already produced and preserved over 7,500 units of housing serving 15,000 people with a diversity of housing needs.
With your leadership, the Trust Fund received more than $100 million in Fiscal Year 2014. This level of funding is needed over the long term. With consistent, robust funding the Trust Fund can play a crucial role in ending chronic homelessness, making and keeping rents affordable, providing opportunities for homeownership, and allowing tenants to execute their right to purchase. The Trust Fund is also a cornerstone of the District’s goal of producing and preserving 10,000 new affordable units and preserving 8,000 currently subsidized units. It’s time to commit to a multiyear funding plan, with at least $100 million available in the Housing Production Trust Fund each year.
We very much appreciate the proposal you have made in collaboration with DC Council leaders to devote 50 percent of future unrestricted surpluses to the Trust Fund. But as you know, it may be several years before this takes effect. In the meantime, as you prepare the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, please invest at least $50 million of one-time money into the Housing Production Trust Fund to maintain $100 million of funding in the short term. We also ask that you consider using other funding sources to ensure that there is at least $100 million of funding each year for the Trust Fund to achieve the District’s housing goals.
All Souls Church
Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council
City First Enterprises
Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development
Coalition for the Homeless
D.C. Catholic Conference
DC Fiscal Policy Institute
DC Jobs with Justice
Embassy Towers Tenants Association
First Trinity Lutheran Church
Foundry United Methodist Church
Good Faith Communities Coalition
Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Homeless Children’s Playtime Project
Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers
Jews United for Justice
Kenyon House Family Tenants Association
Klein Hornig LLP
Latino Economic Development Center
Mercy Loan Fund
Mi Casa Inc.
National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations
New Beginnings Tenants Association
Open Arms Housing, Inc.
Organizing Neighborhood Equity
Pathways to Housing DC
Phoenix Tenants Association
Positive Force DC
Rinker and Associates
Somerset Development Company
Southwest Neighborhood Assembly
The Community Builders, Inc.
The Van Buren Tenants Association
The Way Home Campaign
Transitional Housing Corporation
United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 400
United Planning Organization
University Legal Services
Washington Business group
We Are Family DC
1309 Clifton St NW Tenants Association
1315 Clifton ST NW Tenants Association
1370-72 Fort Stevens Dr. NW Tenants Association
1425 T St NW Co-op
1919 Calvert Street Tenant Association
3115 Mt. Pleasant ST NW Tenants Association
525 Park Road Tenants Association
716 Madison Family Tenants Association
720 Madison Family Tenants Association
7611&7701 Georgia Ave NW Tenants Association
March 11, 2014
Our third place youth winner, Gabriel Merino, is just 11 years old. He and his family found a home they could afford with the help of Jubilee Housing, and his entry expresses how thankful he is for affordable housing.
HOUSING FOR ALL RAP
This is how we are going to do it.
I am being raised in affordable housing.
It’s live browsing.
So please everybody cheer,
There is no such thing as fear
Because we have affordable housing.
So let’s just be here.
Let’s be so thankful that we have affordable housing.
Can you see this is so wonderful?
So let’s be cheerful.
This is my home,
So let’s treat it like a roam.
March 6, 2014
Our second place youth winner, Jabari Jefferson, is Senior at Phelps ACE High School. His piece describes his fears about moving from his beloved old neighborhood to historic Anacostia, and how he came to love his new, big yellow house.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Moving from my old home to a new area was a major culture shock for me. My parents explained to me that it was a way to start a new, but I wasn’t finished with the old. All my memories lied in the pavement of the very neighborhood that taught me everything I know. Why is it that the neighborhood that influences us most, influence us in a way not easily quantified? Getting use to a new environment is hard, but with time comes acceptance. Little did I know that the change can help my understanding of life and the past. This I believe.
My old neighborhood was very dear to me. It was convenient, quiet and peaceful environment; with everything I
could possibly need. A reliable grocery store was around the corner, three busses that stopped right in front of my house (that traveled through The District) and a library resided two blocks away from me. My neighbors were tight knit and engaging. Although I was enjoying my neighborhood, my parents had another plan in mind. They wanted to relocate into The Historic District of Anacostia which they saw mass potential in. I was not sure if I was going to like my new neighborhood. Leaving an old lifestyle cuts deep and I know its the type of wound that never heals.
When I first laid eyes on the big, bright yellow and abandoned house, I excoriated all my interest of ever wanting to live there. It was a 1903 Queen Anne styled house that needed a lot of work and love. The first month there was cantankerous and I was homesick. When my parents asked if I liked it, I would feign to be excited. The nearest store was four blocks away, the bus stop was six blocks away and the nearest library was a mile away. I had a lot to adjust to.
On my way towards the bus stop, I noticed a strange old house that rested on a nearby hill. I read the sign that was sealed on its gate and it read, “Welcome to The Home of Frederick Douglas.” I was astonished that I lived close to the home of a famous African American abolitionist. Not only did Frederick Douglass live here, but other historic figures and landmarks like, The Anacostia River and The Big Chair, the world’s largest chair, reside in my neighborhood; which have shaped The District of Columbia. Although, my old neighborhood was a haven to me, my new neighborhood holds historic significance, with qualities of security, reliability and warmth.
Despite what I thought appealed to me at first, I soon realized the interesting things of my new neighborhood. I may not have the conveniences I use to have, but the history in more important to me. So many residents have tales and have experienced things from the early 1900s. I recently visited my old neighborhood a year later realizing that it wasn’t as exciting as it was a year ago when I lived there. That big yellow house has truly grown on me and has really become my home. I learned the importance and history of life rather than its luxuries.
March 3, 2014
Samar Chatterjee is our third place adult winner for the Home is Where the Heart is writing competition. In his piece, he explains that a home provides shelter to protect both the body and the heart from suffering and calls on America to recognize the right of everyone to have a home.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Though the heart lives in the body; but the heart is not at all happy if its body is always exposed to the vagaries of the nature around us. By nature, we mean our planet earth that is always surrounded by the changing weather patterns like extreme cold, extreme heat, extreme wind, rain, snow, extreme light, extreme darkness, earthquakes and other calamities inflicted on us by nature.
These natural vagaries inflict serious pain and suffering to our bodies that the heart is compelled to suffer. To avoid these cruel torture of nature, our hearts seek a HOME that will provide the necessary shelter against these extreme conditions that inflict pain and suffering to our BODY and hence to our HEART. Thus, our body and heart together work very very hard to develop a suitable permanent shelter to live in, which we humans like to call our HOME.
Thus, it is this Home where the Heart always is. It is the heart that tells us what kind of a home we want to live in, what do we want in the home, and who do we want in our home. It is the heart that propels us to build and equip our home, so that it feels the peace and serenity it rightly deserves. Hence, it is the home where the heart is, and will always want to be.
Clearly, if America seeks to be a truly democratic nation, we should honestly proclaim the constitutional right of every human being to have a home where his heart is. It should be our solemn duty to provide a home for every human heart to live freely on this land of the brave and free, of course without any more wars. I sincerely hope that you will all agree with me.
God Bless America!
February 28, 2014
At the Housing for All NOW Rally, we asked DC residents to tell us their personal stories of housing struggles or affordable housing successes. Others told us why they needed affordable housing now. Check out their stories and answers in this video:
February 27, 2014
Our second place adult winner for the Home is Where the Heart is writing competition, Judith Overbey tells us that home is more than just where the heart is:
HOME IS LOVE
To me, home is where you find love. It’s where you go whenever you need to know that you are safe. It is family, it is warmth in the winter and comfort in the summer. It is holidays full of laughter and stories about the past and loved ones gone on.
Home is not just the building but all that it holds. It’s brick and mortar, siding, carpet and tile. It’s community, yards where children play, sidewalks where people stop to say hello. Home is important to me because it holds all that I hold dear, my family, my son, daughter, daughter-in-law and baby grandson. Together we are happy, we feel safe and we know that there is hope for the future. Home is hope for better tomorrows and a chance to share dreams. Housing should be a right not a privilege and should be available to everyone.
Home is love.
February 19, 2014
Our 2014 writing competition asked DC residents what “Home is Where the Heart Is” means to them. Our adult first place winner, Elsie Collins, describes how finding a communal home at Calvary Women’s Services allowed her to take the risk of coming home to DC …
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
A home should radiate security, warmth, love, and be welcoming. It should have the aesthetics of a Picasso, the music and song of
Josh Brolin. It should represent the competitive spirit of its inhabitants. A home’s construction and foundation should depict the strength and courage it took to plan and save for its creation.
A home swaths you in its tenderness as found within its cherished occupants. It is not the cost of the home that matters. It is not the good judgment and sacrifice of its residents; it takes to make a lifetime purchase of such meaningful consequence.
A home grounds us! It is what we yearn for. It protects us; it gives us privacy and confidentiality while granting us a purpose in life. It allows us to grow with it. We become part of a village – a community. We are the home – the home is us!
Where I live today is a transitional housing program. It is, also, communal living. Its name is Calvary Women’s Services. I receive meals, showers, social services, job assistance, counseling, life skills programs and support groups. Although part of a community, it represents family to me, as it is to many homeless women. I learn crafts, nutrition and food, computer skills, money smart application, and more.
I was linked to outside service providers to further my individual needs. I have learned meditation through yoga methods. Controlling one’s breathing is both, artful and significant in reducing stress. Education and self-development does not stop with age. Where there is a need, there is love, bestowed from the heart by trained staff and volunteers. Home is a combination of the above. A home is what you make it! We enjoy ours! I am pleased to share it with you today.
Washington, D.C. stands as my place of birth, but is, also, the nation’s Capital city. There is much to love about my home town. Challenging as politics are, there is no other global entity to compare with its dynasty of power. Washington, D. C. is a hub of world negotiations. It is, also, home to me!
I claim my home and federal city as one of a kind. I say it best: I am grateful to the fathers and forefathers; the sisterhood, found at Calvary, for granting me shelter and safety of a home to return to. I’ve been away for several years. Housing prices, in general, have escalated beyond my limited social security retirement income. I took a risk on returning home! Affordable housing options are necessary to protect D.C.’s families and their relationship to home. Today we live in a depressed housing market, where the cost-of-living is higher than most states. Calvary allows poorer citizens a vehicle, through processes, toward finding independent housing.
Thank you ALL for allowing me the spirit to continue with my dreams; the courage and determination to “Come Home!”
February 18, 2014
Alaya Barnett is the first place winner in our youth category for the Home is Where the Heart is writing competition. Her poem captures the little things that make up:
THE HOUSE OF MY DREAMS
The house of my dreams
Is not a Palace
It isn’t a Mansion
It isn’t a Castle
The house of my dreams is an affordable cozy little place
That my family can call home and be safe from harm
It can be a Cottage
It can be an apartment
It can be a Condo
As long as I can have a home I can afford
Weather my family grows from two to three or five
I want to have a home that’s mine
Trimming the Christmas tree waiting for Old Saint Nick
All of these memories made
In the home that fit my needs
The House of my dreams