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Overwhelming Opposition to Use of Tax Credits for Market Rate-Heavy Projects

Ward 3 Housing Justice


Contact: Gail Sonnemann, 202-286-0845,

DC residents are clearly against the DC Government granting federal tax subsidies to build developments that contain a large percentage of market rate units. In public testimony solicited by the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) on the DC plan for allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), residents called for transparency and for limiting tax credit subsidies to 100% affordable housing projects to increase housing equity.

A close review by Ward 3 Housing Justice (W3HJ) of the 82 comments submitted to DHCD shows that 63 (78%) objected to the provision giving preference for LIHTCs to projects in which 20% to 80% of the units are market rate. A project with as few as one-fifth affordable units would receive Mixed-Income preference in consideration for LIHTCs. This is in contrast to nearby Arlington, where an Amazon-supported housing development of 550 units is using LIHTCs for a 100% affordable housing project with all units committed to households earning 80% of Median Family Income or less. (For reference, in DC the 2021 Median Family Income for a family of four is $129,000/year.)

“I have recently learned the DHCD provides LIHTC, to development projects that contain up to 80% market rate units. I am stunned,” was a typical comment on the public record. “This means that LIHTC funding is being used to raise capital for projects that accelerate gentrification and displacement. If the Bowser administration is serious about preventing displacement, DHCD should allow LIHTC funding strictly for projects that provide 100% affordable housing, i.e., for households earning 80% of Median Family Income or lower.”

Margaret Dwyer, Convenor of Ward 3 Housing Justice added: “The recent scathing audit of DHCD’s Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) by the Inspector General made clear that the DHCD fails to live up to its mandate to create truly affordable housing to meet the city’s affordable housing crisis. We call on the new interim DHCD director, Drew Hubbard, to eliminate this preference for subsidizing projects with heavy amounts of market rate housing and instead support truly affordable housing. Based on the public record at their own hearing, it’s what the public wants.”

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