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Mayor Bowser Unveils New Tools to Add Affordable Housing

Thursday, December 16, 2021
Rock Creek West Roadmap, Cash 2 Covenant Request for Proposals, and Faith-Based Housing Request for Applications to Further 36,000 by 2025 Goals.

(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of #FairShot Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), in collaboration with the Office of Planning (OP) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), released the Rock Creek West Roadmap which outlines how we can produce over 2,000 additional affordable housing units west of Rock Creek. Mayor Bowser also announced the upcoming release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to pilot a program, to be called Cash 2 Covenant (C2C), that will offer multi-family property owners of existing, vacant units a financial incentive to put an affordability covenant on their property. Mayor Bowser also released a new Request for Applications (RFA) for the implementation of a program supporting at least 10 qualified faith-based institutions in developing affordable housing on their real estate. 

“We need people who sincerely believe – like I do, like my team at DC Government does – that we can change the trajectory of housing in DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “We have bold housing goals in DC; we also have vision and a plan for how to get there. This work is important and urgent, and the tools we’re announcing today will give the community more ways to support our efforts to add 12,000 affordable homes by 2025.” 

Mayor Bowser’s 2019 Housing Equity Report established goals for total housing units and dedicated affordable units for each of the District’s 10 Planning Areas. Achieving these goals will relieve housing burdens that many District residents are experiencing citywide. In Rock Creek West, realizing the affordable housing goals also means that households will be connected to amenities and social and economic opportunities that exist in high-opportunity areas. 

The Rock Creek West Roadmap includes a combination of key District tools and programs, including updated Comprehensive Plan land use guidance; neighborhood-based plans; housing tools, such as inclusionary zoning; and targeted investments, such as the Housing Production Trust Fund, as critical to reaching the District’s housing equity goals in the Rock Creek West planning area. Nearly three-fourths of the projected housing units are located in areas designated by the Comprehensive Plan for future planning analysis. Therefore, District-led activities such as the Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework and the Cleveland Park and Woodley Park Development Guidelines Study, both launching in 2022, are critical steps to realize the Rock Creek West housing goals. 

“This document sets the path forward for creating affordable housing, increasing the overall housing supply, and supporting more vibrant, inclusive and equitable neighborhoods in Rock Creek West,” said OP Director Andrew Trueblood. “The Roadmap shows us how everyone – residents, non-profit organizations, faith-based institutions, housing providers, District government, and other stakeholders – can work together to achieve the ambitious housing equity goals in Rock Creek West.” 

The Cash 2 Covenant (C2C) pilot program will be yet another tool in our toolbox to increase affordable housing in the District. Multifamily property owners with vacant units in the Rock Creek West planning area will be able to submit proposals to an RFP to be released by DHCD in January 2022 for a financial incentive to place an affordability covenant on their property. Units covenanted under the program will remain affordable for at least 15-years and be affordable at or below 80% of the Median Family Income (MFI). A formula will consider affordability, covenant duration, and unit characteristics among other factors to determine how much financial incentive will be provided for a particular unit.  

“In October of 2019, Mayor Bowser made DC the first jurisdiction in the country to have affordable housing goals by neighborhood. We are making strides in creating affordable housing in all our planning areas but have the furthest to go in Rock Creek West,” said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. “The Rock Creek West Roadmap shows us how we can meet our goals with intentionality, investment and imagination. The outcome will not just be new units of affordable housing but the true impact will be greater opportunity for the residents who will live there.” 

With the release of the Faith-Based Housing RFA, DHCD invites qualified applicants, capable of structuring, administering, and funding a program, to support faith-based institutions, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and others in the development of affordable housing. Through this RFA, the District will award a grant to the successful applicant that must be used to support a minimum of 10 Faith-based institutions. The RFA grantee will fund assistance (predevelopment grants or loans, and technical assistance) to faith-based institutions to assist these organizations in moving an idea to a concept plan for building affordable housing on their real estate.   

“The goal of this initiative is to support faith-based institutions interested in using their real estate to develop affordable housing for District residents” said DHCD Interim Director Drew Hubbard. “With over six million square feet of potential land in DC, faith-based institutions represent a significant opportunity for the development of affordable housing, and we’re excited to help them realize this opportunity together.” 

At the start of her second term, Mayor Bowser set a bold goal to deliver an additional 36,000 units of housing – including at least 12,000 units of affordable housing – by 2025. By distributing these goals across the District’s 10 planning areas, Mayor Bowser made DC the first jurisdiction in the nation to create affordable housing goals by neighborhood.  From January 2019 through November 2021, the District has produced 20,251 net new units, of which 3,578 are affordable. You can track the District’s progress toward #36000by2025 at  

Throughout #FairShot Week, the Bowser Administration is highlighting various new and existing programs designed to give Washingtonians a fair shot and accelerate the District’s economic recovery. The Mayor is promoting some of the many tools listed on that provide financial assistance and guidance to local businesses and businesses that want to open in, expand to, and create jobs and opportunity in Washington, DC.