Rising housing costs continue to create a number of concerns for the city’s poorest residents. Several D.C. lawmakers have introduced two bills to address affordable housing concerns.
Elissa Silverman authored the first bill, which would establish a Public Housing Rehabilitations Fund. The purpose of the bill is self-explanatory – it would provide the necessary resources to rehabilitate the city’s dilapidated housing units, which would provide more housing options to low income families.
“Each year, any funds that are unspent at the end of the fiscal year are swept away, either to our ever-growing reserve funds or to other uses through reprogramming,” said Silverman. “I believe that the funds dedicated by the Council to housing our most under-served populations should be used for those purposes.”
Silverman’s bill would limit funding to projects that could be used to provide housing to indigent citizens. The bill prohibits the Public Housing Rehabilitations Fund from using city funds to rehabilitate any unit that would be demolished. The Housing Authority would be required to submit yearly reports to ensure the funds are being spent according to the bill and any remaining funds are returned to the city treasury.
Councilmembers David Grosso and Mary Cheh also introduced a bill to protect the city’s lower income residents. These guidelines would reduce some of the barriers that residents face accessing birth certificates and other forms of identification. This bill could benefit working homeless residents that have been unable to get access to subsidized housing, due to ID requirements.
DC officials will continue to brainstorm solutions to the challenges faced by the working poor. They are confident that the problems will begin to improve after these new solutions are phased in. However, it will take time to fully address the problems lower income residents face.