What is the future for affordable housing in Washington, D.C. and what can concerned residents do to save affordable housing?Â This will be the topic of discussion at a forum hosted by Allen Chapel AME Church and Temple of Praise on Tuesday, May 10th from six to eight pm at Allen Chapel, 2498 Alabama Avenue, SE.Â The program called, â€œWin a Better Budget & Save Affordable Housingâ€ is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, (CNHED).Â The forum is free and open to the public and dinner will be served.
Two out of three dollars cut from Mayor Grayâ€™s proposed budget are in housing or human services.Â Many residents are concerned about how these cuts will impact their ability to continue to afford to live in DC.
Some of the major housing cuts include:
Housing Production Trust Fund
The Fund is intended to be used to build new affordable housing and preserve affordable housing. These funds are being taken to replace local funds cut from Local Rent Supplement Program vouchers and other rental vouchers.
- Only $9 million would be left available for production of new affordable housing and preservation through the tenant purchase process in the Fund this year – severely limiting the ability of the Fund to meet itâ€™s intended goal of housing production.
- This cut is part of the 2012 â€“ 2015 financial plan, which means it will apply every year until 2015. Â As a result, the total available for development and preservation wouldÂ fall to only $5 million in FY15.
- The entire local appropriation for theÂ Local Rent Supplement ProgramÂ and other rental vouchers has been removed from the budget.
- This still reflects aÂ Housing Authority Subsidy cut of $823,000.
Local Rent Supplement Program
This is the key local funding for rental assistance through vouchers and project-based assistance. Under the proposed changes, no new vouchers will be issued, including vouchers that become available as families leave the program. This policy change is permanent, and reflects the undoing of a commitment to the Local Rent Supplement Program by the Gray administration.
Housing First Program ($4 million reduction)
Mayor Gray proposes to gain these â€œsavingsâ€ in this key permanent supportive housing program by moving residents onto federal vouchers and LRSP-funded units scheduled to open soon.Â This would move residents currently served by one program into slots that should be used to serve new residents.
Taken together these changes make it virtually impossible for new families to access affordable housing by:
- Reducing the number of federal vouchers available to residents not currently served by Housing First
- Reducing the number of newÂ LRSP units available to residents not currently served by Housing First
- Eliminating new vouchers from LRSP
- Limiting Trust Fund dollars to an amount that would only produce a few hundred units over the next four years
These changes work against the idea of a Continuum of Housing â€“ which argues that we need a comprehensive approach to meet different peopleâ€™s needs with appropriate housing programs. At a time when we need more affordable housing, they limit the number of affordable units that will be available for residents in the future. As our neighborhoods change rapidly, they ignore the need of tenants to access the Housing Production Trust Fund to maintain their housing as affordable. Â Join us to learn more and take action.
Allen Chapel AME Church is located at 2498 Alabama Avenue Southeast.
Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic DevelopmentÂ (CNHED)is located at 1432 U Street, NW, Washington, DC