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Maintaining and Preserving D.C. Homes is DHCD's Bailiwick

Barrington M. Salmon | 6/12/2013, 3 p.m.
The statement that best captures the mission of the District’s Department of Housing and Community Development is to keep people ...

Kelly lauded the program’s goals and said DCHD has been pretty active in helping provide this needed assistance to police, teachers, firefighters and other middle-income D.C. employees.

“But we should do a better job of advertising,” he said.

Eligible employees can receive the deferred loans of up to $10,000 as well as other tax credit opportunities.

“I think a lot of residents don’t have information about this. We want to get the message out that we’re ready to help police, firefighters and teachers, both in public and charter schools. If they’ve been in good standing for a year, they’ll be eligible.”

These employees can also qualify for the Home Purchase Assistance Program. Kelly said the Greater Washington Urban League “is a strong partner” which processes the paperwork for the program on DHCD’s behalf.

Kelly said DHCD also helps homeowners finance home repairs for things such as roofing repairs, working on enclosure systems, providing access for disabled persons and removing threats to residents’ health and safety.

“We have loans of up to $75,000 for home repairs and we have a roof repair program which is part of our Residence Repair Program,” he said. “Also, we have $15,000 grants for roofing and gutter work.”

Over the past 3 years, DHCD has signed off on 800 HPAP loans; rehabbed 200 single-family homes and made 700 housing units “lead safe.”

Kelly said the homes under consideration for the homeowner assistance and lead-free programs have to be primary residences and homeowners have to be current on all district taxes.

“We can get in trouble if we give money to people who owe the city taxes,” Kelly said with a laugh. “Conceptually, if you’re spearheading programs to bring houses up to code, then in theory [homeowners] get to stay there longer. That’s the higher principle of those programs.”