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Section 3 for Businesses


Businesses registered, formed or licensed in the District or these nearby counties can apply for Section 3 certification for projects and activities in the District:

  • In Maryland – Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties
  • In Virginia – Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas and Manassas Park.

To qualify as a “Section 3 business concern”, at least:

  • 51% of the business must be owned and controlled by either a low- or very low-income person(s)
  • 51% of the business must be owned and controlled by either current public housing residents, or those living in Section 8-assisted housing
  • 75% of its labor hours in the prior 3 months must have been performed by Section 3 workers

Employment and Training

The business must offer jobs, training and contracting opportunities related to the funded project or activity in the project neighborhood or service area. Recipients must be low-or very low-income workers and businesses in the project neighborhood or service area. They also can be participants in a YouthBuild program. At least:

  • 25% of the total project labor hours must go to Section 3 workers
  • 5% must go to Targeted Section 3 workers

To the extent feasible, the Section 3 business must offer these opportunities in this order:

  1. Section 3 workers living in the project neighborhood or service area
  2. Participants in YouthBuild programs that contract for  


If possible and feasible, contracts for Section 3 projects must go to:

  1. Businesses providing economic opportunities to Section 3 workers living in the project neighborhood or service area
  2. YouthBuild programs

How to Apply for Section 3 Certification

DHCD certifies Section 3 business concerns. Certification is for two years, but you can apply to renew it. To apply, complete the Section 3 Business Concern Application at least 60 days before your certification expires.

The Section 3 application requires some of the same information needed for the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) certification administered by the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). For this reason, if your business is a CBE, you can skip parts of the Section 3 application and speed up the approval process.

The same is true for businesses certified as small, disadvantaged, minority- or women-owned, or a combination of these business categories.

For more information about Section 3 applications, contact:

Section 3 Compliance Specialist
DC Department of Housing and Community Development
1909 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20020
(202) 442-7200 or contact TTY
[email protected]

Please Note: The HUD Section 3 Performance Evaluation and Registry System (SPEARS), Business Registry and Opportunity Portal was phased out on September 1, 2023. DHCD is the Section 3 Business Registry for the District of Columbia. All Section 3 businesses must apply and be certified by DHCD. For a copy of the registry, contact us at [email protected].

Section 3 Business Resources

Contact TTY: