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Affordable Housing

In recent years, the crisis in affordable housing in Washington, DC, has continued to worsen. In only a decade (2000-2010), the number of units renting at less than $750 per month fell nearly in half, from over 70,000 units to 35,500 units. The situation is even direr for those with very low incomes.

While approximately one-fifth of DC households spend more than half their income on housing costs, nearly two-thirds of households with incomes below 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI) spend more than half of their income on housing costs.


During this crisis, a few new programs have emerged to help, but the number of available units does not begin to meet the need and previously available resources have declined.

  • Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP): This program has subsidized income payments for low-income residents of DC so that they spend no more than 30% of their income on housing,[1] currently providing support to over 2,500 households.[2]
  • Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF): This program encourages the development of affordable housing units, plus housing preservation and tenant purchase, throughout DC for several income groups, not only the most low-income.[3]
  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP): This program allows low income families and unaccompanied individuals (singles, including those not over age 60 and not disabled) to apply for short-term rental assistance.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH): This program provides long-term housing solutions to individuals who have been chronically homeless in the past.

In 2005, SOME launched its >Affordable Housing Development Initiative, with the goal of creating 1,000 net new units to house 2,000 extremely low-income households. At this time, SOME is nearly three-quarters of the way toward its goal.

Call to Action

We Recommend the District:

  • Make continued investments in the Local Rent Supplement Program, Housing Production Trust Fund, ERAP and the Permanent Supportive Housing program.