New Housing Bill Takes Quick, Proactive Approach to Affordable Housing

Today, Councilmember Robert White introduced a bill to make housing in the District more affordable across the entire city. The Generating Affordability in Neighborhoods (GAIN) Act of 2021 allows the District to pay housing providers to convert existing rental units into affordable units using covenants on the property. 

 “By purchasing housing that already exists and lowering the rents residents would pay, the city can create affordability more quickly and less expensively than our general method of building new affordable housing,” said White. 

The bill would create a commission of real estate professionals to proactively seek out housing units across the city and negotiate with the owners to acquire those units for the program. The fee the District pays the unit owner would subsidize the housing to offset lower rents for residents. A tenant must earn less than 30% or 50% of the Median Family Income to be eligible to rent a unit in the program and would pay no more than 30% of their income for rent. 

 “We are losing the battle to create housing that everyday people can afford,” said White. “While the District will have to continue building new affordable housing, this model allows us to accelerate our housing efforts for people with limited incomes in more neighborhoods across the city. This is a win-win for residents and for apartment building owners.”

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