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How DC is Investing Agency Dollars into Affordable Housing

by Nena Perry-Brown

How DC is Investing Agency Dollars into Affordable Housing: Figure 1
Rendering of the HIP development on E Street SE

Last month, DC launched its Vacant to Vibrant program, a multi-pronged initiative to accelerate the city's workforce housing efforts. One of those initiatives involves the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), a body typically known for providing homebuyers' assistance and bonds to facilitate private development. Now, DCHFA is six months into its Housing Investment Platform (HIP) pilot program. 

Launched last June, HIP created a Single-Family Investment Pilot program that the agency will use to enter into joint ventures with local developers, providing equity in exchange for the creation of for-sale workforce housing units. In July, DCHFA closed its first transaction, a partnership with H2DesignBuild and City First Bank to build five townhouses on the 2500 block of Elvans Road SE (map). Designed by Gaines Kelly Design House, each home will have an interior garage, three-bedrooms and 3.5 baths. The houses are near completion and will be priced in a range affordable for households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI).

How DC is Investing Agency Dollars into Affordable Housing: Figure 2

Rendering of the HIP development on Elvans Road SE

Last month, DCHFA closed a land deal for a parcel in the 5100 block of E Street SE (map), paving the way for a partnership with H2 that could yield up to 16 townhouses. This development is anticipated to break ground within the next 60 days. Both of the aforementioned sites were acquired from private sellers.

Next in the pipeline are two projects, one at 1657-1661 Gales Street NE (map) and another at 2501-2514 West Street SE (map). The former is expected to deliver four units across two stacked flats; the latter could deliver up to seven townhouses. "It's the type of location that, a couple of years from now, may be unattainable, so this is really our attempt to invest in an emerging location and allow local residents who earn moderate incomes to become homeowners before market forces make it unaffordable," DCHFA executive director Todd Lee noted about the West Street site.

Eventually, DCHFA hopes to be able to bring additional private investors in to broker these deals and find other unorthodox ways to develop workforce housing. "We're attacking two things: affordable housing in its classic sense of housing that is affordable to those at 60 percent AMI and below, as well as providing capital for housing that is affordable to the city's workforce," Lee explains.

DCHFA put a Request for Qualifications out to local developers in hopes of building a roster of potential future partners for HIP; Friday was the last day to apply. The agency hopes to select a development partner for each of the DHCD sites in the pipeline within 30 days, breaking ground within the 60 days thereafter.

Correction: The article previously stated that the Request for Qualifications closes today, January 8th; it closed on Friday, January 5th.

See other articles related to: workforce housing, h2, dhcd, dchfa

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how-dchfa-is-investing-agency-dollars-into-affordable-housing/13423

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