Mayor Muriel Bowser

Mayor Muriel Bowser, in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), announced 12 housing development projects at a January 29 press conference. In total, they could provide 804 units of affordable housing in the District.

“Housing affordability is the top issue facing the District of Columbia,” Bowser said. “Everything we do is going to help more people be able to afford to live in Washington D.C.”

The projects will house over 1,700 residents, which Bowser said represents her efforts to fulfill a promise that she made last year to devote $100 million to the production and preservation of affordable housing in Washington.

The new housing developments are planned for every part of the city except for the westernmost neighborhoods in Wards 2 and 3. There will be two projects each in Wards 1 and 7 to preserve existing housing and one each in Wards 5, 6 and 8. Wards 4, 7 and 8 will also see the production of new housing units.

The definition of affordability in the District is based on how much a household makes. The Area Median Income (AMI) in Washington is $109,200. If a household earns less than 30 percent of the AMI, or around $32,760, they are considered “housing-burdened” by DHCD. Twelve percent of households in the District are housing-burdened, according to a report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.

The announced 804 affordable units include preservation of 466 existing units and production of 338 new units. Among those, 216 will be designated for housing-burdened residents and 83 units will serve as permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Residents who earn between 31 and 50-percent AMI will have access to 399 units, while 187 units are designated for residents making 51-to 80-percent AMI.

Altogether the projects represent about $82.2 million in public funding. The timeline for each development remains uncertain.

“All the projects being announced today are at the selection process,” said Polly Donaldson, Director of DHCD. She noted that each project must undergo several layers of clearance before construction can begin. “They still need to go to underwriting and then closing and then construction.” Many projects are ‘in the pipeline’, meaning they are in line for funding, but as of now no developments have begun construction.