Good Faith Communities Coalition is an alliance of faith communities in the District of Columbia. Good Faith advocates for sustainable and affordable housing and services for persons and families who are homeless and marginalized, based on the belief that all our neighbors are children of God.
Safe, appropriate, affordable, and sustainable housing for those battered by market forces beyond their control is a human right. While as a community we broadly enjoy the benefits of gentrification, we must work aggressively to mitigate the impact of this gentrification on the poor and marginalized, particularly in the area of housing, so that the city and community may be one.
Good Faith Priorities for FY 2021 DC Operating Budget:
Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF): in the past four years the city has invested more than $500 million in new and renovated housing. However, building housing for those living in extreme poverty (0-30% Adjusted Median Income) continues to be a challenge. The legal mandate to invest of 40% of housing trust funds in this area has been met met only once in recent years.
In order to address the 30K+ deficit in affordable housing units, substantial additional funds will be required, particularly to meet the biggest challenge, housing the city’s poorest residents. A second trust fund, separately funded, dedicated only to housing the very poorest, is necessary. To be successful this trust fund must address the major barriers to building low-income housing: too few rental vouchers and insufficient funds to sustain the building’s operating and maintenance costs over the life of the building. Those living in deep poverty have few options. We must aggressively seek solutions and additional funds to address their housing needs – and fund them as a priority.
Investment required to make significant progress: additional $180M for the Housing Production Trust Fund to be used exclusively to create housing for those in the 0-30% AMI income bracket + $24M for operations of the new units. Housing vouchers are also required for each new unit.
Repair and Maintenance of Public Housing: often neglected, public housing is an important component of the District housing stock for those living in extreme poverty, particularly seniors and persons who are disabled.
Given the inhumane impact on the poor and marginalized who have few housing options, the public housing inventory can’t be allowed to deteriorate to the point that the units are uninhabitable. The Housing Authority has plans to demolish and/or renovate 14 properties in the next 5 years. Funding for interim repairs must be appropriated as residents await redevelopment. In addition, displacement funds must be available for those forced to move to accommodate either renovation or replacement.
Investment required to make significant progress: $60M base funding for repair and maintenance of public housing as well as displacement assistance for those forced to move.
Chronically Homeless and Family Homelessness: Though progress has been made with outreach and programs such as Permanent Supportive Housing, we still meet our homeless neighbors sleeping on the street or at a METRO entrance at night or trying to make a home in a tent by the side of the road.
Homeless DC projected a foreseeable end to chronic homeless. Though programs that work have been identified and implemented and progress has been made, too many chronically home people and families remain unhoused. The ultimate goal of ending chronic and family homelessness is at the end of the Mayor’s second term in 2022.
Investment required to make significant progress: $41M for Permanent Supportive Housing for more than 1500 individuals who are chronically homeless; $10M for Targeted Affordable Housing rental vouchers for another 500 individuals and families who don’t need intensive services; $10M for Permanent Supportive Housing for 302 families; $17M for Targeted Affordable Housing for 712 families .
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP): this program provides back rent for people facing eviction and security deposits for people needing to move. Programs such as ERAP that prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless with a small investment at the right time are very cost effective.
Investment required to make significant progress: $12M.