Good news from DC Mayor; Next steps

D.C. mayor's $100 million commitment to affordable housing should be a call to action for private sector, according to Oramenta Newsome, executive director of DC LISC.

6 Feb 2013 - Oramenta Newsome, Executive Director, Washington DC LISC

I was sitting in the audience at a historic synagogue in Washington D.C. this week when Mayor Vincent Gray announced $100 million in new funding for affordable housing. The room erupted in applause.

I was among those cheering. But, I also acknowledged the reality of the moment: government funding alone cannot solve our affordable housing crisis.

The mayor's commitment to support 10,000 new affordable homes is a call to action for the private sector. That includes lenders, investors, philanthropists, intermediaries, community-based organizations and developers. This is $100 million in seed money. It's leverage. It's the first step.

At LISC, we have been financing affordable housing throughout D.C. since 1982. And what we have found over those 30 years is that this work requires a broad, collaborative effort. Government can be a community development catalyst. But public funds must be leveraged with private dollars.

And the need is certainly significant. This new city commitment echoes the voices of our residents. During our 2012 One City Summit, more than 1,500 people gathered and said affordable housing is their number one concern. From that, the mayor created the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force to help address pressing housing needs. I am privileged to be a member of that task force. Though our final report won’t be released for several weeks, we've been sharing preliminary recommendations with the mayor. And this week, he took action.

Now, it's time for us to act, to bring our ideas and our capital to the table to help us meet this goal. The private sector must come together to respond. It is the only way to make this $100 million reach the people who need it most.

Related

> Washington DC Mayor pledges $100 million for affordable housing - articles from The Washington Post and Washington City Paper

Article Type: LISC Article