(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, The Bowser Administration, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced advancements in two innovative new initiatives to bring new affordable homes to DC through partnerships with private property owners: the Faith-Based Housing grant and the Residential Accessory Apartment Program (RAAP) Request for Applications (RFA). Together these efforts further opportunities for residents and organizations landowners, in this case faith-based institutions and homeowners of single-family, semi-detached or rowhouses, to help the District further its goal of achieving 12,000 new affordable homes by 2025. Both programs are possible with investments made by the Bowser Administration in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
“The Faith Based Initiative, along with the new RFA for Residential Accessory Apartment Program, provide the District new vehicles to expand the number of affordable homes available to residents in the District,” said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. “RAAP can also provide opportunities for wealth building for homeowners through new revenue streams.”
DHCD announces the selection of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. to administer the Faith-Based Housing pilot grant program following the release of the Request for Applications in December 2021. Enterprise was selected for their extensive experience working with faith-based institutions, including six already in the queue for assistance from the pilot, along with their proposal to exceed the District’s requirements for the fund from 10 to 12 faith-based institutions. They plan to provide faith-based institutions with predevelopment grants of up to $70,000, leveraged 1 to 1 with existing Enterprise capital, along with technical assistance to include development consulting, organizational assessments, zoning application assistance and peer-to-peer learning sessions.
The Urban Institute estimates that faith-based institutions own approximately 450 vacant parcels in the District and could produce 6,000 to 29,000 new homes, but despite their interest to create affordable housing, need the technical assistance and financial resources to move forward with moving their concepts to reality. The resources available under the District’s new program will allow faith-based institutions interested in taking advantage of the grants and technical assistance offered by Enterprise to play a role in supporting the Mayor’s 12,000 affordable housing goals by 2025. Faith based institutions interested in learning more are encouraged to visit Enterprises’ Faith Based site.
On Friday, DHCD will release a Request for Applications (RFA) to administer the Residential Accessory Apartments Program (RAAP) for a total of $1.65 million. The RFA seeks qualified for-profit or non-profit/tax-exempt entities, capable of structuring and administering a program for the development of residential accessory apartments, also known as basement or garage apartments sometimes called Accessory Dwellings Units (ADUS). The successful applicant will need to conduct outreach to homeowners, manage application intake and award, and provide technical assistance to a minimum of 15 homeowners at varying income levels. The program is expected to launch by fall 2022.
“Innovating strategies to achieve our housing goals is not only existing for the team at DHCD but necessary” said Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Interim Director Drew Hubbard. “I’m grateful to the Mayor for pushing the envelope on how we achieve our goals and more importantly making the investments that make those innovations possible”.
Assistance provided to homeowners by the selected program administrator will be capped at $75,000 per homeowner at 80% of MFI and below and will vary for higher income bands. DHCD has partnered with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) who will provide an additional $30,000 to five homeowners that opt to use DCRA’s preapproved architectural plans for accessory apartments or allow their architectural plan to be added to DCRA’s preapproved plan library. By utilizing the preapproved plans, homeowners can reduce permitting time and costs. This resource, along with DCRA’s recently expanded homeowner assistance center, will be available to assist homeowners that participate in the program.
Efforts to increase accessory apartments can have significant impact in bringing additional apartment homes online. Currently there are 92,000 homes in R and RF Zones and yet fewer than 50 accessory apartments are approved each year. Other cities that have implemented similar programs have experienced a significant increase in interested homeowners seeking to approve an accessory apartment at their property. The pilot will enable the District to gain insights that could inform a potential future, expanded program.
"We are excited to be part of a multi-agency effort to spur more affordable housing with accessory dwelling units (ADUs)" said Ernest Chrappah Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. "Homeowners who invest in ADUs can generate passive income and increase their property values".
At the start of her second term, Mayor Bowser set a bold goal to deliver an additional 36,000 units of housing – including at least 12,000 units of affordable housing – by 2025. By further equitably distributing these goals across the District's ten planning areas, Mayor Bowser made DC the first jurisdiction in the nation to create affordable housing goals by neighborhood. From January 2019 through December 2021, the District has produced 20,699 net new units, of which 4,003 are affordable. You can track the District’s progress toward #36000by2025 at open.dc.gov/36000by2025.