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Council Gives $50 Million to Housing Program

After much debate, the D.C. Council passed preliminary legislation to stabilize funding for the city's first-time home-buyers program, providing $50 million to fund it.

"I can't imagine anyone on this council being against this issue," said D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. "We need to recognize that we are going to have to make some difficult choices."

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), said, "If it were not for the HPAP program I would not be in my house today."

Council member David Catania (I-At Large), noted, "I didn't need to be lectured to about the importance of affordable housing. I will support this, but we need to have our eyes open because things are changing."

The Housing Production Trust Fund Stabilization Act, which was introduced by D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), brought out dozens of community activists in support of the bill. The council also passed the Housing Regulation Administration Amendment Act that insulates the city's rent administrator from being fired by the mayor.

Hamil R. Harris

By Marcia Davis  |  November 18, 2008; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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Comments

"I can't imagine anyone on this council being against this issue," said D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. "We need to recognize that we are going to have to make some difficult choices."
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This ain't one of them

Posted by: scrappyc20001 | November 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i can't imagine anyone being against it, either, which is why it's weird that the Council cut HPAP & didn't move to stabilize the Trust Fund in the first place.

Posted by: taniab71 | November 18, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

HPAP is suspended. We have to do better.

Posted by: 411Tibby | November 19, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

DC Housing Counseling Services is still calling HPAP loan recipients as of Nov 19th, and telling them that the funds are suspended. How long will this $50 million take to get to the HPAP program, and how long will that amount of funding last?

When Council Member Gray said of the original budget freeze that the funds would be released if the District's tax collections increase and if more money is generated through fees on real estate transactions, did he really think that cutting funds for first time home buyer programs would help to increased fees on real estate transactions? Is that what he meant when he said "We have approved a fiscally responsible approach to the District's financial challenges"?

And when he said "We're not cutting existing programs. We are simply not starting new programs to lessen the pain that people will experience." did he mean that he intended all along to reinstate the HPAP funds after putting a bunch of first time home buyers through the hell of thinking that all the months of collecting information, filling out applications, attending mandatory classes and counseling sessions, and researching mortgage and home owner's insurance information was all for nothing?

Or is it just that he didn't care how the cuts would affect real people until it started to garner bad publicity, and now he wants to pretend that he was on the side of the working class residents of the District all along? Hmm...

Fenty was right on this issue from the very beginning. He said the freeze was a bad idea, and that it would hit first time buyers hard. What a dumb move by the City Council, led by Vincent Gray.

Posted by: carla82 | November 19, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

WP - thanks for posting the HPAP info. I have a petition on my site that I will be forwarding to the coucilmembers. Please forward the address to everyone you can. As of this posting we are at 350 'signatures.' Hopefully we'll hit 500 by the end of the week and then show the city how much the program means.

the petition is at " www.buildingdc.com/petition "

Thanks for the help
Jesse

Posted by: DevelopersAgentcom | November 20, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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