(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a new $10 million investment in Housing Stabilization Grants to provide support for the District’s portfolio of affordable and small housing providers. The grants will utilize federal CARES Act funding to cover rent arrears during the COVID-19 public health emergency in order to assist renters and to stabilize properties that may be heading toward distress.
“This pandemic has forced an unprecedented and disproportionate financial burden on our low-income renters, through no fault of their own. By allowing housing providers to apply for assistance on behalf of tenants, we can provide swifter relief,” said Mayor Bowser. “The Housing Stabilization Grants will help us protect our affordable housing stock and keep residents in their homes.”
The Housing Stabilization grant programs will cover rent arrears accrued from April 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020, and will be paid by the District to housing providers in an 80:20 split, with the District contributing 80% of the rent, up to $2,000 in assistance, and the landlord forgiving the rest. Applications will open on December 1, 2020 and close on December 11, 2020.
The Housing Stabilization grant programs will be available to two groups of housing providers:
- Group A, to be administered by the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), will include housing providers in the District’s portfolio of income restricted affordable housing projects financed by the Housing Production Trust Fund, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or other local and federal affordable housing funds.
- Group B, to be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), will include small housing providers with 20 units or fewer in their portfolio.
“As Chair of the Housing Committee, my priority remains to keep every tenant in safe, sanitary and secure housing during this pandemic,” said At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds. “This is a great step in providing needed funding that brings stability to our small landlords and our affordable housing partners as a holistic approach to help keep the lights on these desirable affordable units and to restore the trust between tenant and landlord. This program, combined with other measures, such as the continued eviction moratorium shows the commitment of the Mayor and the Council working together to bring relief to our tenants.”
As a condition for the assistance, the housing provider will be required to absolve the tenant of all arrears, including fees, penalties, and interest, accrued during the period of April 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020. This means that tenants will be caught up on any and all back-rent during the public health emergency. Applications will open on December 1, assessed on a rolling basis, and close on December 11.
“This is the latest effort of our Administration to ensure that our residents have the resources they need to thrive during this pandemic” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “These housing stabilization funds will allow us to help not only tenants, but also the housing providers that have partnered with us to maintain affordable living spaces for thousands of people across our city during unprecedented times.”
“We heard the District’s small housing providers loud and clear,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “They wanted to be able to apply for assistance on behalf of their tenants, and now they can. By meeting the District halfway, or really 80% to 20%, they’re also contributing to their tenant’s financial future, and we thank them for their contribution.”
“DCHFA and DHCD's affordable housing portfolio has 274 properties and over 30,000 units across the city,” said DCHFA Interim Director Christopher E. Donald. “Many of the residents that call these units home have been impacted with job loss during this pandemic. Through the payment of any arrearages, we reduce some of the burden on residents and housing providers. Ultimately, this funding will help stabilize properties and ensure housing providers have the resources to continue to offer the highest quality housing available.”
In addition to today’s new program announcement, Mayor Bowser also announced that she will direct an additional $4 million in CARES Act Community Development Block Grant Funds for the District’s Coronavirus Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), bringing the program to $10.2 million. Beginning in January, DHCD will open applications for the funds to housing providers to apply for assistance on behalf of eligible tenants.
For more information on the Housing Provider Rental Assistance funds, visit coronavirus.dc.gov/rent.