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DC Announces $10 Million Affordable Housing Rent Relief Program

by Nena Perry-Brown

As concerns persist about DC residents' ability to pay for housing, small landlords' ability to pay their mortgages, and the need to preserve affordable housing in the city, another COVID-related rent relief program is being released.

This afternoon, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $10 million grant program that affordable housing and small landlords will be able to apply for directly starting tomorrow. The grants will cover 80% of delinquent rent, up to $2,000 per month since April, in exchange for the landlord forgiving the remaining 20% and any outstanding fees.

Of the grants, $9 million will be available to landlords of buildings that are part of the Housing Finance Agency or Department of Housing and Community Development portfolios, and the remaining $1 million will be available to landlords who own up to 20 units citywide. The monies will only cover units that are currently occupied, and the landlords must be registered with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and have a Clean Hands certification.

The application period closes on December 11th. The program uses funds from the CARES Act and needs to disburse all its funds by the end of the year.

Mayor Bowser also noted that there remain unclaimed funds available via the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) — in fact, out of $6.2 million, only $500,000 in relief has been approved thus far. Because CHAP funds are only available to low-income renters right now, the city will open CHAP applications to landlords in January for them to apply directly for funds. Additional information about the city's rental relief programs is available here.

"While this is a big step in the right direction, the government has a long way to go in providing small housing providers relief," Dean Hunter, CEO of the Small Multifamily Owners Association, said in a statement. "We need access to the courts for health and safety issues, we need the ban on rent increases lifted and we need the implementation of the new tenant screening and record sealing law pushed back to the end of the moratorium."

NOTE: The quote from Hunter was added after publication. 

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/new-affordable-housing-rent-relief-program-announced-for-dc/17593

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