Washington Grantmakers’ Housing Advocacy Pays Off

The D.C. budget debate continues, but a recent letter from Washington Grantmakers to the D.C. City Council regarding affordable housing policy appears to have had an impact:  

  • Rent Supplement program – WG recommended funding the newly established program at $24 million for FY 2008, a $12 million increase over Mayor Fenty’s proposed budget. OUTCOME: Council approved a $7.5 million increase–not the full amount requested, but still a clear win. 
  • Home Purchase Assistance Program – WG supported Mayor Fenty’s proposed increase of $15 million. OUTCOME: Approved by Council.  
  • Housing Production Trust Fund – WG recommended no additional securitization amendments or provisions be included in the budget unless additional revenue was identified to cover those measures. (“Securitization” ties up future funds that otherwise would be available for affordable housing production and preservation.) OUTCOME: Because of significant public advocacy over the past two weeks, the D.C. City Council adopted language that would securitize only up to $16 million, instead of the $30 million originally requested. The funding will allow the first phase of D.C.’s New Communities project to move forward, while still ensuring that future Trust Fund resources are available for a range of affordable housing projects. Washington Grantmakers and the Community Development Support Collaborative (along with CNHED and a number of other advocacy organizations) supported this effort to ensure broad use the housing fund.