On March 20, 2019, a regional housing collaboration has launched an initiative to secure one billion dollars in new private and public capital to advance the preservation and creation of affordable homes in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.
The Housing Leaders Group of Greater Washington announced its Capital Region Housing Challenge at the March 20 BisNow DC Metro Affordable Housing Summit to encourage employers, anchor institutions, the philanthropic sector, other private investors, as well as local and state governments to commit by the end of 2020 at least $500 million in new private capital and $500 million in new public funds toward affordable apartments and home ownership. ULI Washington has been a member of the collaborative effort since its inception five years ago.
“The Capital Region Housing Challenge is a down payment toward the investments needed to truly solve the region’s housing needs, especially for lower income residents,” said David Bowers, Enterprise Community Partners Vice President and Mid Atlantic Market Leader and HLG Co-Convener. “By working in partnership with other regional efforts and stakeholders, we are committed to promote the value of, and opportunities to, invest $1 billion in new capital by the end of 2020.”
The challenge focuses on subsidy capital and impact investments that provide returns below market in support of greater social return. These funds would then be put to work as grants, loans and equity for capital and operating costs for developers and for renters and prospective homeowners earning up to 120 percent of area median income.
The Challenge is not raising a fund for its own management nor deployment. Instead, this clearinghouse will highlight existing regional capital opportunities created by partners in both for-profit and non-profit arenas that address a spectrum of needs, neighborhoods, and conditions, as well as state and local trust funds and other public resources to leverage and expand impact.
Examples of capital vehicles referenced by the Housing Leaders Group include:
The Washington Housing Initiative (Federal City Council & JBG SMITH) whose regional DC, MD, and VA objectives are to:
● Raise up to $150 million impact pool of capital to provide secondary financing to preserve or build 2,000 -3,000 units of workforce housing in high-impact locations for 15 years committed affordability
● Partner with best-in-class operators to offer needed services
● Deliver competitive risk-adjusted returns
● Reduce energy consumption and contribute to healthy living
● Build a replicable model that can be used in other communities
The Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Partnership to End Homelessness
The Greater Washington Community Foundation has partnered with the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness to launch a public-private partnership to end homelessness in Washington, DC. The Partnership applies traditional and innovative funding models to increase the supply of supportive housing and expand nonprofit capacity to help our most marginalized neighbors exit homelessness. It serves as a platform for private-sector coordination, education, advocacy and resource mobilization to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring in DC. The partnership endeavors to:
● Accelerate the implementation of the District’s strategies;
● Support individuals, families, and youth to exit homelessness and obtain stable housing;
● Leverage private philanthropic resources and align with public resources and strategies, leading to more nimble, strategic and sustained investment in the homeless services system; and
● Provide a dynamic and broad-based platform for continued resource mobilization and coordination.
State & Local Trust Funds, which can leverage significant additional private investment to ensure housing affordability production, preservation, and additional housing support for individuals and families across the income spectrum. HLG will promote working with government officials, housing practitioners, and advocates to create or expand state and local housing trust funds in every jurisdiction in our region, including:
● District of Columbia
● Maryland: Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties
● Virginia: City of Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William Counties
HLG does not consider this an exhaustive or complete list. In the coming weeks, additional initiatives will be highlighted that align with the goals of regional housing affordability, and amplify the need for the increase in capital necessary to be successful. An update on progress made with new public and private commitments will be featured at HAND’s 28th Annual Meeting & Housing Expo taking place June 11, 2019 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel & Conference Center, Washington, DC. “With a membership footprint spanning Baltimore to Richmond, HAND is committed to taking bold steps – side-by-side with our cross-sector membership – to build public and private will that catalyzes action to address the Capital Region’s housing affordability crisis in a meaningful way,” said Heather Raspberry, Executive Director, HAND and HLG Member.
Kaiser Permanente, the region’s leading not-for-profit health system, recently announced its commitment to supporting affordable housing and homelessness. “There is a proven link between health and housing. And the region needs to provide pathways to better health and opportunity,” said Celeste James, executive director of Community Health with Kaiser Permanente and a member of the Housing Leaders Group. “We need to leave a legacy of promise, opportunity and mobility to all families, where people of moderate means can own a home, send their children to quality schools, start businesses and contribute to their communities. This is why Kaiser Permanente is planning to make investments to support housing affordability efforts in the region.”