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New Report: Addressing The Housing Affordability Challenges Faced by DC’s Lowest-Income Renters Would Require Substantially Larger DC Government Investments

CONTACT: Simone Holzer 202-325-8775

Today, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute released a report outlining the investments necessary to address the affordable housing challenges faced by DC’s lowest-income residents.

Building the Foundation: A Blueprint for Creating Affordable Housing for DC’s Lowest-Income Residents contextualizes the District’s recent affordable housing investments and outlines a ten-year blueprint to address severe rent burden among DC’s extremely low-income residents.

The full subsidy cost to the District to create 30,000 units of deeply affordable housing would be $2.6 billion in construction subsidies over ten years, with $732 million per year required for ongoing operating assistance. This investment would put affordable housing on par with what the District spends on other key city services, such as public education and police and emergency services. The District currently has 27,000 extremely low-income households paying half or more of their incomes for rent each month.

The report notes that the District’s recent efforts to create and preserve affordable homes, while important, have not substantially expanded extremely low-income residents’ access to affordable housing. Few of DC’s extremely low-income renter households (those with incomes below 30 percent of the area median, or $33,000 for a family of four) have access to a home they can afford: 63 percent pay at least half of their income for housing.

“DC’s lack of affordable housing impacts nearly every aspect of life for households working to make ends meet on extremely low incomes,” said Claire Zippel, Housing Policy Analyst and Research Coordinator at DCFPI. “By expanding access to deeply affordable housing, the District will be better able to meet other pressing goals, such as improving student outcomes, reducing racial inequity, and addressing homelessness.”

DCFPI also released an analysis of the affordable housing investments in the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget.


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