Each year, CNHED works hard to make sure that the DC budget meets the community development needs of the District of Columbia. Below are the highlights of CNHED’s budget recommendations.
Increase funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) to a minimum of $125 million. As the backbone of affordable housing preservation and development in the District, HPTF is crucial to keeping and expanding the affordable housing needed for District families and individuals. CNHED’s recommendation to increase investment in the HPTF by 25% is reasonable and practical. While $125 million will not meet the need for affordable housing in the District nor fully utilize the available capacity to produce such housing, it will enable the production and preservation of approximately as many affordable housing units as in FY17. $125 million does reflect the increased demand for and capacity to use the Trust Fund. The increase will help deal with the ongoing devaluation in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and resulting need for additional project subsidy.
Sustain $16 million for the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) for a robust first-time homeownership program. Downpayment assistance is a critical tool to help first-time buyers purchase homes in the District.
Increase the Small Business Technical Assistance Program (SBTA) to $3.6 million to ensure small businesses throughout the District have access to guidance and information to successfully plan, start and grow their business.
Invest $3.5 million for project-based Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) to provide operating subsidies for at least 250 new homes serving extremely-low-income households. LRSP is the critical tool that allows the District to produce new units that serve extremely low income individuals and families.
Commit an additional $5 million to the tenant-based Local Rent Supplement Program to serve new families on the waiting list for affordable housing. Tens of thousands of families are waiting for an affordable housing voucher, which would allow them to have housing security and relieve their high housing cost burden. Continued investments in the tenant-based Local Rent Supplement program are critical to provide these families with affordable housing options.
Fund necessary investments for Homeward DC’s plans to end chronic homelessness. The Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) is in the process of updating its five-year strategic plan to end chronic homelessness. While progress has been made in the effort to end chronic homelessness by 2017, more investment is needed. CNHED strongly supports the goals of the ICH plan and is anticipating the release of their updated roadmap with revised budget modeling. In advance of that update being released, we present the following recommendations based on current knowledge of the investments needed for the upcoming fiscal year.
- Invest $17 million in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
- $8.5 million for 535 individuals and $8.5 million for 284 families
- Invest $9.4 million in Targeted Affordable Housing (TAH)
- $5.2 million for 425 individuals (50% of need, because the need is greater than is scalable at this time); and $4.2 million for 215 families
- TAH is designed for those who have experienced chronic homelessness but who do not need the services offered by PSH or who need longer-term assistance than Rapid Re-housing offers.
Commit $9 million for the Great Streets Initiative administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Great Streets provides capital improvement dollars in the form of a grant to small businesses for build-outs and renovations, equipment upgrades and façade improvements. More than 220 businesses have received grants totaling $14.65 M, resulting in increased business revenue, increased employment and improved conditions along Great Streets corridors.
Commit $10 million for the Small Business Capital Access Fund (formerly the Micro Loan Fund) to provide low-interest micro-loans to certified business enterprises (CBEs) that are small and disadvantaged for start-up costs, working capital, and business procurement.
Commit $500k for the Emerging Business District Demonstration Grants to provide continued assistance to five fledgling Business Improvement District (BID) organizations, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, H Street Main Street, Shaw Main Streets, Congress Heights Community and Training Development Corporation and Mid-City Business Improvement District, with early start-up funding to subsidize the planning, research and organizing operations necessary to establish a Business Improvement District.
Preserve $3.516 million for the twenty-one existing Commercial Clean Teams to ensure designated commercial corridors throughout the District maintained. The Clean Teams program employs local residents and provides service delivery to enhance litter clean-up along the streets, sidewalks and storefronts along and around the District’s corridors.
Invest $1.79 million in the designated DC Main Streets, a comprehensive program that promotes the revitalization of traditional business districts. The ten independent, nonprofit neighborhood Main Street programs revitalize communities by retaining and recruiting businesses, improving commercial properties and streetscapes, and attracting consumers.