A new report by the think tank D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) says that rising costs of construction are also causing an increase in the cost of affordable-housing.
The $100 million annual investment of the city at present in its Housing Production Trust Fund, which was established in 2015 by Mayor Muriel Bowser, is making only one-third of housing units it did four years ago.
“D.C.’s housing challenges require a bold solution. Doubling D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund to $200 million in FY 2020 would make important progress,” FPI policy analyst Doni Crawford writes in the report.
Bowser had earlier made a call for the city to produce about 36,000 housing units by 2025, making one-third of them affordable. According to her administration, over 7,200 affordable units were produced in the past four years through “planned unit development”.
The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has praised the mayor’s efforts of investing in affordable housing, however analysts have urged the mayor’s administration to make more investment in this direction.
D.C.’s affordable-housing crunch particularly burdens the people of color, according to Crawford. “The enduring legacies of structural and individualized racism … that for years prohibited Black families from equitably accessing the housing and employment markets is further impacting all communities of color today. Nearly 90 percent of extremely low-income, severely rent-burdened households in the District are headed by a person of color,” she writes in the report.
According to the institute, the city can tap into the general fund or surplus fund to get more money required for meeting housing needs. The institute also recommends a “mansion tax”, increasing the property taxes on the wealthiest households in the city.
Mayor Bowser has called for more equitable distribution of housing needs across the city in order to achieve her goal of adding 36,000 new units by 2025. The mayor’s 2020 budget proposal is likely to be released this month.