Councilmember Silverman Introduces Bill to Accelerate Funding for Affordable Housing Units

Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) today introduced legislation to get District funds for building and preserving affordable housing into use more quickly. The “Housing Production Trust Fund Advanced Solicitations Amendment Act of 2017” was co-introduced by eight other members: Councilmembers Anita Bonds (D-At Large), David Grosso (I-At Large), Robert White (D-At Large), Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7), and Trayon White (D-Ward 8).

The Housing Production Trust Fund is one of the most important affordable housing programs in the District, but it can take up to two years for approved projects to receive money from the Fund. Under the bill, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) would be able to request applications from developers for funding from the Housing Production Trust Fund starting one fiscal year before the money would be granted. DHCD would then be able to award the money at the start of the next fiscal year—an improvement that moves the application, funding, and building process forward more quickly and efficiently.

“We’ve made an unprecedented investment in the Trust Fund with $100 million—a larger investment per capita than any other local jurisdiction in the country,” said Silverman. “District residents are depending on us to spend this money quickly enough to create the units we need. Currently that need is 28,000 housing units, just for our extremely low income residents.”

The legislation only applies to the dedicated tax revenue that is deposited into the Trust Fund every year, which comes from the Deed Recordation Tax and Deed Transfer Tax. It does not increase the amount of money that goes into the Trust Fund; the bill would instead reduce the time between when funding becomes available for projects and when projects are completed, ultimately helping to get new affordable units available to residents faster.

“We know that money will be available for affordable housing each year,” said Silverman. “We’re in a housing crisis impacting thousands of residents and must move as quickly, and deliberately, as we can to solve it.”

The legislation was referred to the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization.