(Washington, DC) – The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced a new initiative to help residents reduce home safety hazards, through the expansion of its Lead Safe Washington (LSW) program. The initiative, The Healthy Homes Program (HHP), will use intervention and repair services to remedy the following home hazards: damp and mold growth, excess cold, asbestos, radiation-radon, easy entry by intruders, fire risks, poor lighting and fall risks.
“A priority of the Bowser administration is ensuring that District residents have affordable—and safe— housing,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “Studies show that unhealthy housing leads to higher rates of respiratory illnesses, in-home injuries, home fires and other serious issues. Through the Healthy Homes Program, the District is taking proactive steps to help ensure that a resident’s living environment is not contributing to health and safety problems.”
DHCD received a two-year $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), along with technical assistance, to implement the HHP. The program will conduct risk assessments, provide mitigation and perform repairs that address one or more home hazards for low and moderate income households currently enrolled in the LSW program.
DHCD will provide grants of up to $4,000 per qualified household. LSW recipients must be:
- Owner-occupied households whose income is at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) with at least one child under the age of six who either lives in or frequently visits a housing unit with existing hazards related to lead-based paint. Households with a pregnant woman are also eligible.
- Owners of rental housing properties with existing hazards related to lead-based paint that are occupied by half of the tenants whose income is at or below 50 percent AMI.
LSW recipients will begin the HHP process at a community-based organization (CBO) and will have to meet eligibility guidelines related to income, household size and other factors.
For more information on the HHP and LSW, contact LSW Manager Lubna Jamal, at 202-442-4569 or [email protected]
Since taking office, Mayor Muriel Bowser has made safe and affordable housing a major focus of her administration. The District has an inter-agency Healthy Homes (Sustainable DC) Plan/Initiative led by the DC Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) that is intended to leverage local resources to eliminate household environmental health threats in at least 50 percent of District housing stock by 2020.
In addition to the LSW program, DHCD has an infrastructure of programs aimed at providing safe housing for low and moderate income households that include the Single Family Residential Rehabilitation Program (SFRRP) and the Safe at Home Program (SAH) administered by the DC Office on Aging. Additionally, in her March 30 State-of-the-District address, the mayor announced as part of her inclusive prosperity platform additional funding to hire more housing inspectors to find housing and safety code violations.
The District’s multi-pronged approach to housing production and preservation, homeownership, and development of vacant properties is winning national recognition. On April 28, DHCD was announced as a finalist for the Urban Land Institute’s Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award. This annual award, provided by ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, recognizes innovative ways the public sector is addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis. The winner will be announced in September.
The District is celebrating its achievements during June Housing Bloom.” Mayor Muriel Bowser’s annual month-long initiative showcases how the public and private sectors are partnering to both produce and preserve affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods across the District. Over 5,000 attendees, a record number, attended the June 24 9th Annual Housing Expo and Home Show, which was among the events occurring this month.