Affordable housing

Well considering there are developers still developing and candidates running for stuff, affordable housing may pop up in the discussion.
Yes, every one is for affordable housing, to a degree.
The project over in NE Eckington, the Fairfield Development Project is supposed to have 8% of its units affordable for those making 80% of the AMI. If I’m reading the HUD data right (pdf file) for one person it is $41,700 and $47,700 for two. So of the 625+ housing units, about 50 or more will be affordable. Eight percent does not sound like a lot, but it is better than 0%.
On the other end 100% affordable housing projects are bound to attract neighborhood opposition. Also it is concentrating poverty which is not good for the neighborhood and not good for the residents of the projects.
So the question is, when developers or politicians talk about affordable housing what kind of affordable housing are they talking about? And with the politicians, how they propose to carry out creating, making, affordable housing is a concern. Will it be via some financing scheme/ tax break where a percentage of units are to go to folks making up to a certain income? Then what is is good percentage that makes the project commercially viable, does not concentrate poverty, and provides a decent number of affordable units? Will it be housing vouchers, where we’ve seen, folks could concentrate themselves in poorer areas. I don’t have any answers but I do know that the Devil is always in the details.

2 thoughts on “Affordable housing”

  1. Perhaps the best is a variety, or a set aside of increasing income limits. Unfortunately 100% affordable housing is now synonymous with the word “Projects”, and that’s hard to wash off. DC’s Frontiers developments are some of the few surviving, if not thriving ones in the country, because they were developed with a thought in mind besides simply warehousing people. The city learned from the past. They aren’t mixed income, though they are in a neighborhood which is varied in incomes.

    If I had to guess at a percentage, I’d say 25% is what you’d need, on a rising limit such that income earners aren’t all of one group, and will capture a greater portion of the population. Anthony Williams, for all his faults, has described DC’s population as a buxom woman: two large hills on either side of the income spectrum and an ever shrinking space in the middle. DCHFA has some resources to help (opens PDF) determine who could qualify.

    Still I think you’re right on the money: the devil is in the details. How, How much, Who, and Where.

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