D.C. Council Approves Credit-Building Program for Public Housing Residents

The neighborhood of Barry Farm at the intersection of Eaton Road and Firth Sterling Avenue in southeast D.C. is seen here. (Courtesy of Eric T. Gunther via Wikimedia Commons)
The neighborhood of Barry Farm at the intersection of Eaton Road and Firth Sterling Avenue in southeast D.C. is seen here. (Courtesy of Eric T. Gunther via Wikimedia Commons)

The D.C. Council recently approved a credit-building program that will allow the city’s lowest-income residents to increase their credit scores when paying their rent on time.

However, when the Public Housing Credit Building Pilot Program Act of 2017 received the council’s unanimous approval on June 5, housing activists in support of the measure also warned it will take more than the bill’s passage to help public housing residents.

While the bill would allow such residents to opt in to a D.C. Housing Authority program that reports monthly rent payments to a credit bureau, participating residents would also get a chance to obtain loans or credit cards at reduced interest rates. In addition, they could create more job and housing opportunities when paying their rent as agreed.

Parisa Norouzi, director of housing advocacy group Empower D.C., said the new measure is especially important in the District because “residents who are being displaced from public housing communities undergoing redevelopment often cannot take advantage of the Section 8 voucher program because landlords turn them away due to their credit history.”

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