Community

$10M Leveraged in District Funds to Preserve Affordable Housing

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced Capital Impact Partners and Local Initiatives Support Corporation-DC as the manager for the District’s $10 million Affordable Housing Preservation Fund. The March 13 announcement follows the appointment of Ana Lopez Van Balen as the District’s first Affordable Housing Preservation officer.

The Mayor’s Housing Preservation Strike Force recommended creation of the fund, located within the Department of Housing and Community Development, to increase the preservation of affordable housing in the District.

“As we work to create and preserve more affordable housing across all eight wards, the Preservation Fund will allow us to move more quickly and to leverage private investments in order to maximize our investments and reach more Washingtonians,” Bowser said. “Capital Impact Partners and LISC-DC both have deep, long-standing commitments to affordable housing and my Administration looks forward to working together to get this money out the door and into preservation projects.”

The Mayor’s Housing Preservation Strike Force recommended the creation of a private-public preservation fund as one of six critical strategies to preserve affordable rental housing in the District. Bowser invested $10 million in local funds for the Housing Preservation Fund in DHCD’s FY18 Budget, which was approved by the DC Council. The fund managers will each receive $5 million.

Capital Impact Partners, a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Arlington, Virginia, has disbursed more than $2 billion to revitalize low- to moderate-income communities over the last 30 years. LISC-DC, over its 30-year history, has preserved over 3,700 units of affordable housing in the District.

“The fund managers will allow us to move more nimbly and quickly to acquire properties that we want to preserve as affordable housing,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “We are glad to take another significant step in implementing another tool in the mayor’s toolbox, one that—by the end of this year, will preserve more safe and affordable housing for District residents.”

“As Chair of the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, I look forward to this fund becoming a reliable tool for assisting the city in preserving the many affordable units that we have across the city,” said Council member Anita Bonds. “This will not only help our working class but be of great support to our senior population. I applaud DHCD for moving forward with this effort so quickly.”

Along with other private and philanthropic investments, the $10 million will be used to grow the fund to approximately $30 million. These monies will quickly provide short-term bridge acquisition and predevelopment financing to eligible borrowers. Properties targeted for fund investments are occupied multi-family housing of over five units, in which at least 50 percent of units are currently affordable to households earning up to 80 percent of the median family income.

The companies were selected from responses to a DHCD solicitation in late 2017 seeking the following qualifications: (1) a substantial record of affordable housing and community development lending nationally and/or in the District during the last five years; (2) a strong record of success in its lending activities; (3) access to its own private funds to invest in the Fund or the solid commitment of monies to create the Fund; (4) ready to immediately proceed with implementing the Fund; and (5) a substantial record of providing technical assistance and pre-development loans to developers.

Since coming into office, the Bowser Administration has sparked the creation or preservation of more 10,400 affordable units, with another 2,950 in preconstruction. In Fiscal Year 2017, the District made historic investments in affordable housing, getting more than $138 million in Housing Production Trust Fund financing out the door to support 23 projects that will produce or preserve more than 1,900 affordable units.

The District’s multi-pronged approach to housing production and preservation, homeownership, and development of vacant properties is winning national recognition. On Sept. 11, the District was selected for the Urban Land Institute’s Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award. This annual award, provided by ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, recognizes innovative ways the public sector is addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis.

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