DHCD: Keeping D.C. Affordable for All
6/11/2014, 2 p.m.
More often than not, residents have confused the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) with other housing agencies throughout the city. Well, this article will give a clear overview of who DHCD is, and whom it supports and serves.
DHCD works closely with Mayor Vincent C. Gray and partner District government agencies to achieve its mission of creating and preserving opportunities for affordable housing and economic development and revitalizing underserved communities in Washington, DC.
This agency is focused on ensuring that the city remains affordable for working professionals such as teachers, police officers, administrators as well as seniors, the disabled and the city’s most critical needs populations such as chronically homeless families.
The agency has over a dozen programs and services for residents, business owners and developers throughout the city. The Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) has proven to be one of the agency’s most popular programs and plays a key role in the District’s efforts to build enduring and diverse communities. The HPAP program provides loans and grants for down payments and closing cost to first time homebuyers.
Another hot button area in the agency is the Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD), which focuses on providing new affordable homeownership opportunities, and addressing abandoned and vacant properties through key acquisitions. In recent years, PADD has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC to build homes for veterans in the Randle Highlands community and build net zero sustainable homes in Deanwood.
Lead Safe Washington (LSW), Healthy Homes Intervention (HHI) and Single Family Residential Rehabilitation Program (SFRRP) objectives are to remove threats to health and safety, and provide accessibility to homes for persons with mobility or other physical impairments. In Fiscal Year 2013, SFRRP replaced or repaired 30 roofs and completed 23 handicap home improvements. LSW was able to remove lead threats from single and multi-family homes resulting in abating 183 children’s elevated blood levels. Rehabilitating DC homes helps our children grow up healthy and allows seniors to age in place contributing to the diversity of our neighborhoods.
DHCD also supports community needs by funding various Community Based Non-Profit Organizations to help small business owners with storefront façade improvement and small business technical assistance.
The agency is currently revamping policies and procedures and expanding its services and programs to be more robust and all inclusive. Increasing engagements and awareness is also a top priority for the agency. The Office of Communications and Community Outreach is developing an aggressive marketing strategy to more effectively reach its key stakeholders. On June 21, 2014, the agency will host its largest marketing event, the Sixth Annual DC Housing Expo and Home Show.