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Mayor Bowser Signs Order to Drive Bold Goal of 36,000 Housing Units by 2025

Friday, May 10, 2019
Mayor Calls on Council to Support Increased Affordable Housing Investments and Move Forward on Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order on housing directing District agencies to identify new policies, tools, and initiatives to begin fulfilling her bold goal of creating 36,000 new housing units, 12,000 of them affordable, by 2025.

“In order to meet our growing housing needs and take on the forces of displacement, we need to be bold and implement an all eight wards strategy,” said Mayor Bowser. “When people have access to safe and stable housing, that is the first step toward having access to a safe and stable life. This order lays out how we will take a citywide approach to a citywide challenge— building on the historic investments we’ve already made and calling on everyone in our community to be part of the solution.”

The Mayor signed the order at an Invest in Housing Rally in Ward 7, where stakeholders and community members showed support for housing investments in Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal, including a new $20 million Workforce Housing Fund to create and preserve housing for teachers, first responders, social workers, hospitality workers, and others who serve DC.

The order focuses on key areas such as:

  • Increasing production and accelerating delivery of housing by analyzing housing trends, needs, capacity, and impediments to housing in order to identify housing targets and policies
  • Promoting fair housing by identifying ways to create an equitable distribution of affordable housing across Washington, DC
  • Creating homeownership opportunities
  • Directing all District agencies to support the goals of Homeward DC
  • Improving resident housing experience by directing Lab @ DC to create a unified “front door” for residents to access affordable housing opportunities and programs

The Mayor emphasized that her housing strategy includes the need to complete the amendment process for the District’s Comprehensive Plan, noting that she introduced legislation over a year ago to move the plan forward, but it still sits with the Council.

“The Comprehensive Plan is an important tool in our effort to create much needed housing in DC, and we need the Council to get the process back on track,” said Mayor Bowser.

Over the last three years, the DC Office of Planning (OP) has solicited community input on the plan.

“As we’ve heard feedback from residents on the Comprehensive Plan, we’ve distilled input into a set of eight values – accessibility, diversity, equity, livability, opportunity, prosperity, resilience, and safety,” said OP Director Andrew Trueblood. “These values, which express the essence of what makes DC home for everyone, will help guide OP through the remainder of the amendment process.”

OP will be conducting series of engagements in May and June to share more of these key values and to seek feedback in creative ways. Residents can learn more at: www.dc2me.com.

The rally took place on the site of Phase 3 of Cynthia Townhomes, which is part of the Housing Investment Platform of the DC Housing Finance Agency. All three phases total 15 townhomes, with five homes in each phase. Phase One is sold out, and three homes are reserved via pre-sale in Phases Two and Three. The homes are for households making no more than $140,600 (120% of the median family income in 2018).

Mayor Bowser’s Commitment to Affordable Housing

In March, Mayor Bowser introduced her Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal, which includes new housing investments under the DC Department of Housing and Community Development: a 30-percent increase in the Housing Production Trust Fund, bringing her annual investment to $130 million; an increase in the Housing Preservation Fund from $10 million to $15 million, which will yield an additional $45 million in private investment; and a new $20 million Workforce Housing Fund that will leverage private sector investment by 9 to 1, bringing the fund up to $200 million.