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Mayor Bowser Highlights Economic Toolkit to Ensure Strong Recovery for the District

Thursday, September 9, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, during the 2021 Capital Regional Business Forum, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted the District’s significant investments that will provide relief, recovery, and growth for residents and businesses across all eight wards. Mayor Bowser’s FY2022 Fair Shot Budget, approved by the DC Council in August, focuses on the pillars of an equitable recovery from the pandemic by making big investments in residents and businesses that have been hit hardest.

“We were fortunate to go into the pandemic with a strong economic foundation, and now we’re making the necessary investments to support a strong recovery and give residents and businesses hit hardest their fair shot,” said Mayor Bowser. “These investments will create jobs, connect Washingtonians to opportunity, and help us build a more equitable DC.”

Budget Investment Highlights  

Below are highlights of investments and initiatives in Mayor Bowser’s FY22 budget that build a more equitable Washington, DC and give more Washingtonians a fair shot.

Housing Affordability and 36,000 by 2025

Investments bolster existing affordable housing efforts to improve housing security among DC residents by supporting Mayor Bowser’s goal to deliver an additional 36,000 units of housing by 2025, including at least 12,000 units of affordable housing. Initiatives include:

  • A $400M investment (in FY21 and FY22) in the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) will deliver approximately 2,700 affordable units over the next few years.
  • The Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP), which keep approximately 1,100 of those units deeply affordable.
  • A $17M investment in the Housing Preservation Fund (HPF) to preserve affordable units and $5M to help limited equity co-ops purchase their buildings through first right to purchase. This will preserve more than 250 affordable units.
  • STAY DC will provide $352M in emergency rental assistance to households unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additional initiatives include a pilot program to help homeowners create accessory apartments and houses of worship assess affordable housing development opportunities, an acquisition fund for affordable housing, funds to support affordable buildings with Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) compliance, Ward 3 planning analyses, and updates to the DC Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

Equity in Food Access

These investments prioritize equitable food access, particularly in Wards 7 and 8. As a result, more than 162,000 residents will gain food access points within one mile of their home. Investments include:

  • $58M to expand access to grocery stores and sit-down restaurants in Wards 7 and 8 over the next three years, including $3M over two years for the DC Nourish Fund​.
  • The FY22 Budget Support Act changed the Supermarket Tax Credit to focus eligibility to areas most in need of grocery stores, expand support to more fresh food retailers, and add community engagement requirements for grocers.

Supporting Small Businesses and Hospitality

Small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. The District’s investments in this area will support the immediate and long-term sustainability of our business community and continue to provide much needed relief to support the hospitality and tourism industry. Investments include:

  • $40 million for the Small Business Rent Relief to cover rent for small businesses who have incurred significant costs or revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $40 million for the Hotel Relief Bridge Fund, which will provide additional relief for hotels that experienced significant economic distress.
  • Fee Relief
    • Permanent reduction of business fees to $99 and includes formation filing fees, general business license fees, fees to start or renew an employment agency, employer paid personnel service or employment counseling businesses​
    • Two-year reduction of occupational and professional license fees to $99​
  • $8 million for the Bridge Fund for Art Venues support our arts venues across the District as they continue to navigate re-opening.
  • $5.4 million for the Small and Medium Business Growth Program to support growth, expansion and other activities that are likely to increase the revenue of the business or result in the hiring of additional employees by the business In addition, $7m for Great Streets to continue supporting businesses in designated corridors in realizing similar opportunities.
  • $4 million for the Commercial Acquisition Fund, which will provide down payment assistance for equity impact enterprises that want to purchase commercial property to house their business in the District.
  • $3 million over FY21 and FY22 for the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund to provide access to capital for small, DC-based businesses that are eligible to be equity impact enterprises and business led by entrepreneurs who are women and/or people of color.

Restoring Downtown’s Vibrancy

The District is also making investments that will restore economic vibrancy and promote job growth. Investment will enhance resident quality of life by activating public spaces for dining, recreation, creating new centers of public activity, and offsetting the decline in office-related foot traffic. They include:

  • $7.5 million for the Employment Center Vitality and Local Jobs Creation Fund to enhance DC’s competitiveness in attracting new, high-growth companies to the District. Through the Vitality Fund, DMPED will provide grants to employers with 25 or more employees located in or that commit to locate in the central business district (CBD).
  • $8 million to support catalytic placemaking and recovery projects led by the Golden Triangle, Anacostia and Southwest Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).
  • $3.25 million for Streets for People, which will provide Business Improvement Districts and Main Streets with technical support and grants to invest in recurring outdoor activations such as markets, coworking spaces, festivals, cultural events, and seasonal activities.