The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) of Washington, DC, an NLIHC State Coalition Partner, and the Housing For All Campaign made important gains in funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF). The FY15 budget approved by the DC City Council on May 28, 2014 included a total commitment of $79.3 million.
The HPTF was created in 1988, but it has not receive funds on a regular basis. In 2001, the DC City Council made a one-time allocation of $25 million. Then in 2002, the DC City Council passed the Housing Act, which dedicated 15% of the DC Deed Transfer and Recordation Tax to the HPTF annually.
The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) uses the HPTF to provide grants and loans to for-profit and nonprofit developers for the construction or preservation of affordable housing. Funds can be used for rental and homeownership units. Typically, more than 50% of the funds support rental units. To date, HPTF has funded more than 7,500 units.
HTPF must serve households with income between 0-80% of area median income (AMI), with 80% of all funds dedicated to units for very low income (VLI) households (income less than 50% AMI) and 40% of all funds further targeted to extremely low income (ELI) households (income less than 30% AMI). In a city with a shortage of 26,485 units affordable and available to ELI households, the HPTF is a critical resource for meeting the housing needs of the lowest income residents.
HPTF funding has declined significantly in recent years, so the Housing For All Campaign was started by CNHED to bolster affordable housing resources. Unfortunately, after the launch of the campaign, the HPTF was cut by $38 million during the Great Recession. For the past year, the Housing For All Campaign has focused on the goal of obtaining at least $100 million in annual funding for the HPTF. The Housing For All Campaign engaged in significant advocacy across the city, including town hall meetings, rallies, a vigil for homeless people, an organizational support letter, and meetings with DC City Council members.
This advocacy work yielded tangible results. Mayor Vincent Gray’s budget started with a baseline increase of $30.2 million in one-time funding to complement $40.4 million from the Deed Transfer and Recordation Tax. In addition, $8.7 million unspent capital dollars from the Department of Behavioral Health budget were dedicated to the HPTF for housing for people with serious mental illness. Combined, these commitments to the HPTF will total $79.3 million for FY15.
CNHED and the Housing For All Campaign also were successful in advocating for the Budget Support Act, which will commit 50% of future year-end unrestricted surpluses to the HPTF once required reserves have been achieved. CNHED estimates that in two years, the HPTF will begin receiving money regularly from this source, in addition to the standard 15% commitment from the Deed Transfer and Recordation Tax.
Although the Housing For All Campaign has not yet reached its goal of $100 million for the HPTF, the funds committed in FY15 are a tremendous victory. CNHED and the Housing For All Campaign will continue to push for full funding of the HPTF.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Falcon, Campaign Organizer, Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development, firstname.lastname@example.org