(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced the release of the Affordable Rental Covenants (ARC) Pilot Program Request for Applications (RFA).
Through the ARC Pilot Program, the District anticipates the addition of 25 to 30 affordable units by awarding financial subsidies to multifamily owners for placing affordability covenants on one or more vacant rental units for a period of not less than fifteen (15) years. The new covenanted vacant units will be affordable to households at or below 60% Median Family Income (MFI), which is $85,400 for a family of four. Applicable rents and allowable income will be pursuant to Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) rules, regulations, and procedures.
“Mayor Bowser challenged us to think creatively about every possible tool that may help to reach our affordable housing goals.” said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. “We know that stable affordable housing in a high opportunity neighborhood affects the arc of someone’s life and economic opportunities available to them – this new program will put such opportunities within reach for more DC residents.”
The ARC Pilot Program will support ongoing efforts described in the Housing Equity Report, that outlines the need to produce over 5,000 units of affordable housing in the high need planning areas of Rock Creek West, Capitol Hill, Near Northwest, and Central Washington. The Housing Equity Report assigned specific goals for new affordable homes for each planning area in the District, with the ultimate goal of 15% of all housing stock in each planning area be affordable by the year 2050. Ensuring all planning areas meet their affordability goals opens access and opportunity for all Washingtonians earning below-average income. As of December 2022, the four planning areas identified for this pilot are the furthest from reaching their 2025 goals, with Rock Creek West at 3.6% of its goal, Near Northwest at 10.7% of its target, Capitol Hill at 14.8%, and Central Washington at 42.2% of its goal.
A total of $5 million in funding is available for the ARC Pilot Program and is limited to multifamily housing accommodations with 4 or more vacant units in the Rock Creek West, Capitol Hill, Near Northwest and Central Washington planning areas. Only vacant units are eligible for the ARC Pilot Program. Eligible housing providers applying to this RFA are asked to propose the level of subsidy they are seeking for each vacant unit that will be reserved to create affordability. The level of financial subsidy that the District will be able to offer an applicant will be based on the proposed new affordable rent level of the vacant unit, the length of time the units will be under the affordability covenant, unit characteristics and property amenities, year of unit construction, among other criteria. DHCD will conduct a lottery from its list of IZ-registered households to select possible tenants to fill the vacant units. Applications are due February 1, 2023, and then on a monthly rolling basis. The application can be found at https://dhcd.dc.gov/ARC.
“Increasing affordable housing in these four high need areas is critical to meeting the District’s housing needs” said Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Interim Director Drew Hubbard. “I appreciate Mayor Bowser for empowering the District’s housing agencies to develop creative solutions to achieve our goals and more importantly by directing funds to see the solutions to implementation.”
At the start of her second term, Mayor Bowser set a bold goal to deliver an additional 36,000 units of housing – including at least 12,000 units of affordable housing – by 2025. By further equitably distributing these goals across the District's ten planning areas, Mayor Bowser made DC the first jurisdiction in the nation to create affordable housing goals by neighborhood. From January 2019 through October 2022, the District has produced 25,182 net new units, of which 6,203 are affordable. You can track the District’s progress toward #36000by2025 at 36k.dc.gov.