Ambitious Housing Initiatives Maintained in Approved FY 2022 DC Budget

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Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser delivered what some thought was an ambitious housing ask in her next budget — and she’s mostly getting her way. The D.C. Council unanimously passed the $17.5 billion, fiscal year 2022 budget Wednesday, and it now awaits the mayor’s signature to be finalized. 

The bill will enact the mayor’s original housing wish list, including a $400 million commitment to the Housing Production Trust Fund to build and preserve affordable housing, as well as an additional $42 million for project-sponsor vouchers to help low-income residents​.

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The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless took to Twitter to thank the D.C. Council for maintaining all of the housing investments in the budget, noting that it will help approximately 2,370 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

Jaydot, a D.C.-based organization focused on creating housing solutions, also was pleased with the outcome. “We are thrilled to know that this budget will end homelessness for 3,500+ households,” it tweeted from its official account. “This transformative change is a win for housing justice.”

The budget included investments for Homeward DC 2.0, which would include 758 new, permanent supportive housing units for individuals and 347 for families. It also expands Project Reconnect, which provides one-on-one support to adults at risk of homelessness.

Additionally, the budget included $102 million in renovations to D.C.’s existing permanent and temporary supportive housing and shelters. 

Mayor Bowser called the budget “transformational” for the community and a solid investment in creating a more equitable D.C.

“By combining federal and local funding, we are able to make historic investments in our city’s greatest challenges—with more than $400 million for affordable housing; more than $200 million to expand opportunity, reduce gun violence, and ensure we have a strong, sustained police presence,” Bowser said in a statement. 

She was looking to increase the city’s police budget by $11 million to expand the force by 170 officers, but the approved budget only allowed for $5 million.

“I made a proposal based on what Chief Robert J. Contee said he needed, and Council stated that they are only willing to do half of what he requested,” Bowser said in the statement.

That could be a sticking point on whether or not Mayor Bowser adds her signature, or vetoes the budget and sends it back for negotiation. 

The 2022 budget was aided by more than $2 billion in federal funds and a new tax increase on the wealthy.

Keith Loria can be reached at kloria@commercialobserver.com.