Up to Eight Months of Assistance Provided to Tenants Behind on Rent with More to Come
(Washington, DC) – RealEstateRama – Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District has expended $13 million in federal funding for two rental assistance programs developed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA). In addition, housing providers may now apply to the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) on behalf of eligible tenants.
“We know that while it’s important to invest in our rental assistance programs, it’s even more critical that we get those dollars out the door and into the community,” said Mayor Bowser. “It will take a coordinated community effort to overcome the economic burdens caused by the pandemic. We look forward to working with our housing providers to quickly provide relief to tenants through these innovative programs.”
Approximately 4,500 households, a majority of which are low-income and reside in the District’s portfolio of affordable housing, were assisted with $11.5 million from the Housing Stabilization Grants program. The District contributed 80% to those owing back rent between April and November 2020, with their housing provider forgiving the rest. Over 2,700 households, or 60%, were located in Wards 7 and 8.
Additionally, approximately 450 low-income District households received $1.5 million from the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA). The annual income for most of the program’s recipients was less than $37,000.
“Mayor Bowser launched the Housing Stabilization Grants program to help our residents who are facing economic hardship make it to the other side of this pandemic,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “We remain committed to supporting more residents and continuing to partner with housing providers to ensure tenants have the resources they need.”
Last June, DHCD also developed the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) that offers rental assistance to low-income renters who are in arrears and earn 80% of the Median Family Income (MFI) or below based on the COVID-19 Income & Rent Schedule. Starting immediately, housing providers may apply to CHAP on behalf of eligible tenants.
“Our goal was to offer rental assistance to as many households as possible, but the demand pushed us to exceed our initial estimates of how many households we could help,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “Fortunately, we have more resources to offer tenants who have fallen behind on their rent and housing providers experiencing some difficulty due to the lost income.”
The Housing Stabilization Grants program, launched for a limited time in December with an initial investment of $10 million, used Coronavirus Relief Funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury to assist housing providers in the District’s portfolio of affordable housing projects and those providers with ownership interest in less than 20 units of housing in the District. Demand for the program exceeded the initial investment and an additional $1.5 million was allocated, all of which was expended to provide rental assistance for up to eight months.
“The staff at DCHFA eagerly rose to the challenge of awarding grants to District landlords under a tight deadline,” said DCHFA Acting Executive Director/CEO Christopher E. Donald. “The funds allocated help to ensure housing stability for residents of the District’s affordable housing communities, many of which are the most impacted by the pandemic due to job loss or fulfilling their duties as essential workers.”
The TBRA program, which launched in May 2020, used funding from the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program to help low-income rental households earning below 60% MFI who had lost income during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Up to six months of rental assistance was available to eligible applicants.
For more information on the District’s rental assistance funds, visit coronavirus.dc.gov/rent.