The Incredible Shrinking Housing Authority Funding
Times are getting leaner for the D.C. Housing Authority.
Late last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced its annual Capital Fund grants to around 3,100 public housing agencies across the country to pay for the development and maintenance of public housing. D.C.'s share, HUD reported, would be $13,677,447.
That figure represents a slight decline from last year's $14.1 million, which itself was a shadow of previous years' funding. Between 2006 and 2010, Capital Fund grants to the D.C. Housing Authority were over $20 million each year.
“In recent years we received more than $20 million to accomplish the same tasks we are expected to accomplish this year with a $13.6 million grant," says Housing Authority Executive Director Adrianne Todman in a statement. "While we welcome the federal assistance, cutting public housing funds by more than 30% suggests a regrettable level of disregard by our national leaders for the children, seniors and vulnerable families who receive housing assistance in the District of Columbia and the country.”
The Housing Authority controls more than 8,000 housing units across the city, serving as landlord to nearly 20,000 residents. It relies on the Capital Fund Program to maintain, modernize, and rebuild the city's public housing stock. This year's Capital Fund grant represents only about $700 per Housing Authority tenant.
Fortunately, the Housing Authority could soon see a different source of revenue: It's looking for a developer to rebuild its squat North Capitol Street headquarters, create a mixed-use development—and give "substantial payments" to the agency for the value of the land.
Update 4:45 p.m.: HUD spokeswoman clarifies that the decline in funding given to D.C. comes from the top. "Congressional appropriations were down across the government for [fiscal year] '13," she says.
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