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What Is DCWatch?
Mayor Anthony A. Williams'
Housing Initiative Preservation, Rehabilitation and Production
Washington's economic resurgence has brought new life and opportunities to the city and
its neighborhoods. During the last year, numerous new housing developments were
constructed across the city and an influx of small businesses and corporations recognized
the benefits of operating in Washington. In Fiscal Year 2000, the Department of Housing
and Community Development alone invested about $33.9 million in funds into our city's
Wards for housing and economic development activities, leveraging $226.3 million in funds
from the private sector.
However, the revival has brought pressures on the city's housing market, especially on
affordable housing. Longtime residents are seeing their rents and property taxes increase,
sometimes forcing them to move out of their homes. The rising land values and construction
costs make it difficult for affordable housing developers to finance new projects. In
addition, owners of federally subsidized rental housing are assessing the booming real
estate market and considering converting their properties into market-rate housing.
To meet the demand for affordable housing in Washington's changing housing market,
Mayor Anthony A. Williams is significantly expanding the District's housing initiative,
building on current efforts to create and maintain homes for low- and moderate-income
homeowners and renters. The initiative is aimed at protecting existing affordable housing
and reducing displacement, converting vacant and dilapidated buildings into new housing,
and promoting new housing for people of all incomes.
As part of the housing initiative, Mayor Williams proposed an omnibus housing bill,
entitled "Housing Preservation, Rehabilitation, and Production Omnibus Amendment Act
of 2001." The bill proposes dedicating approximately $10 million a year for new
affordable housing and proposes property tax relief for low-income, long-term homeowners.
It also proposes new tools to rehabilitate vacant and deteriorated properties,
modifications to the Homestead Program, and tax incentives for the construction of new
The District government will continue financing the construction and rehabilitation of
rental and ownership housing; providing down payment and closing cost assistance to
first-time homebuyers; and supporting community and neighborhood-based initiatives.
Three primary goals of the Mayor's Housing Initiative:
- Protect existing affordable housing and prevent displacement,
- Convert vacant and dilapidated buildings into new housing, and
- Promote new housing for people of all income levels.
Protect Existing Affordable Housing and Prevent Displacement
- Support low-income, long-term homeowners - limit low-income, long-term homeowners'
property tax increases to no more than five percent a year.
- Notify the District and residents of expiring use - require owners of federally
subsidized housing to notify their tenants and the District nine months before
transforming properties into market-rate housing.
- Provide targeted historic housing tax credits - provide working-class homeowners an
income tax credit for up to 25 percent of the cost of rehabilitating their historic homes.
Convert Vacant and Dilapidated Buildings into New Housing
- Update the rehabilitation building subcode - establish a committee to study and draft
anew rehabilitation subcode based on effective subcodes from other major cities.
- Streamline the demolition process - provide the District government the authority and an
effective mechanism for demolishing and boarding-up deteriorated properties.
- Modify quick take provisions - define more clearly the District's authority to
"take" certain abandoned and deteriorated properties and resell them for housing
and economic development purposes.
- Modify the Homestead program - expand the Homestead Housing Preservation Program to
allow disposition for use as rental housing, establish a Homestead Repayment Fund, and
allow the program to accept unsolicited proposals for properties in the Homestead
Promote New Housing for People of All Income Levels
- Expand the Housing Production Trust Fund - dedicate about $10 million a year for
- Modify the commercial/housing linkage formulas - establish new linkage formulas that
allow discretionary commercial development to contribute $3 -$4 per square foot to the
Housing Production Trust Fund for affordable housing.
- Establish an inclusionary development policy- require new residential developers who
build on District-owned land, are subsidized with public money, or request zoning relief,
to set-aside at least ten percent of the units for low- and moderate-income families.*
- Provide tax abatement incentives for new residential developments throughout the city
and new homeownership opportunities in Enterprise Zones (EZs) - abate 50 percent of the
property taxes for ten years for new multiunit housing developments in certain downtown
"housing priority areas," abate 75 percent or 100 percent of the property taxes
for ten years for new mixed-income housing developments (depending on how many units are
affordable), abate 50 percent of the taxes for five years for new homeowners in EZs.
- Modify the combined lot program - modify combined lot zoning regulations to allow
commercial developers to escrow money that can be accessed when a building permit is
issued for housing development.*
*This is not a part of the omnibus bill, but is part of the Mayor's Housing
For more information about the Housing Preservation, Rehabilitation, and Production
Omnibus Amendment Act of 2001, please call one of the following District government
Department of Housing and Community Development
801 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
441 4th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
941 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Government of the District of Columbia
Mayor Anthony A. Williams