DC: Councilmember Bonds Introduces Legislation to Transform Vacant Properties into Affordable Housing

anita bondsBy Bmorenews Staff

(WASHINGTON – March 4, 2016) – On Tuesday, March 1, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, Chairperson of the Committee on Housing and Community Development introduced legislation that would convert vacant, blighted and condemned properties into livable affordable housing.

The Property Rehabilitation for Affordable Housing Act of 2016 will transform vacant, blighted, and condemned buildings and real property into livable obtainable housing utilizing the DC Housing Finance Agency to provide loans to rehabilitate and develop the properties.

“According to DCRA, as of November 2015, there were a total of 3535 vacant buildings, 345 Blighted buildings, 132 condemned properties, and 67 vacant lots of 650 sq. ft. or larger,” stated Councilmember Bonds at the Act’s introduction. Adding, “This legislation will help low to moderate income residents afford to live in the District while simultaneously ridding our communities of chronically vacant and blighted properties.”

The vacant property rehabilitation program would be administered by the Mayor who will acquire the rights to the properties and transfer those right to a resident, non-profit organization, or for profit/nonprofit joint venture to rehabilitate. The renovator will be chosen based on the priorities of housing affordability, number of people served, cost-effectiveness, and the quality and timeliness of construction. The Act requires 75% of the total square footage of the property to be sold or rented to low or moderate income individuals/families with a 40 year affordability covenant.

Councilmember Bonds was joined on the legislation by co-introducers Councilmembers Nadeau, Grosso, and Silverman. Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember McDuffie Co-sponsored. The Act was referred to the Committee on Housing and Community Development with remarks by the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.