Chairperson Bowser and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Jenny Reed and I am the Policy Director at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. DCFPI engages in research and public education on the fiscal and economic health of the District of Columbia, with a particular emphasis on how policies impact low- and moderate-income families.
I am here today to testify strongly in favor of B20-708, the “Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Act of 2014.” The bill would help ensure a significant and predictable investment in the Housing Production Trust Fund’DC’s main source for affordable housing construction and preservation. With DC losing half of its low-cost rental units and more than 70 percent of its low-value homes in the last decade, providing consistent and reliable funding to the Housing Production Trust Fund can help support a systematic effort to address the severe shortage of affordable housing.
The lack of affordable housing is important not only because it leads to homelessness for many of our neighbors, but because it also affects the success of other critical public investments. A child whose family is frequently moving, is homeless or living in substandard housing will almost surely have poorer educational and health outcomes than a child in stable housing. A resident with a chronic health problem will better be able to treat their disease and avoid costly trips the emergency room if they have a stable home. And a resident is more likely to be able to learn a new workforce skill if they aren’t preoccupied with figuring out where they will sleep that night. In other words, it all starts with affordable housing.
The approved FY 2015 budget for the HPTF is $40 million from dedicated tax revenues. Total resources in FY 2013 and FY 2014 are significantly higher as a result of one-time funds of $69 million and $31 million, respectively. These were added to the dedicated tax revenues that form the basis of Trust Find. (See Figure 1.) The one-time funds will help make DC make progress on its affordable housing goals.
To read the complete testimony, click here.