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Ward 3 Group Opposes Using Low Income Housing Tax Credit to Subsidize Market Rate Units

Ward 3 Housing Justice


Contact: Gail Sonnemann, 202-286-0845, gsonnemann@gmail.com

Ward 3 Housing Justice (W3HJ) testified in opposition to using federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) to support construction of projects including market rate units at a DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) hearing Wednesday night. (LIHTCs are credits granted to private investors to increase the production of housing for those who cannot afford market rate housing, i.e., “low income“ housing.)

DCHD’s proposed guidelines grant LIHTCs to projects with up to 80% market rate units, much higher than what is considered best practice. For instance, the Urban Institute says that most LIHTC projects “... are 100 percent affordable to maximize the equity raised for the project” (2018). In this area, Amazon is donating land in Arlington County to build a 550-unit 100% affordable housing project with no market rate units.

“What priority housing needs does the inclusion of up to 80% market rate housing address in a city with thousands of vacant market-rate units?” asked Margaret Dwyer, W3HJ conveyed in her testimony. “We urge that the use of LIHTCs be limited to projects, like our Wardman proposal, that provide mixed income housing for households living at 0-80% of the MFI, which is over $100,000 a year for a family of four and would, for example, be attractive for service workers and municipal employees.” Reginald Black from the Wardman Hotel Strategy Team, a W3HJ partner organization, points out, “The top priority in the city has to be the creation of truly affordable units, particularly family-sized units. DHCD should be pulling-out-all-the-stops for mixed income projects for residents with 0 to 80% MFI -- not promoting the development of market-rate units, and the Wardman Hotel conversion still presents an excellent opportunity of scale to do this.”

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