Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19 budget update

  • The Committee on Human Services budget hearing for Child and Family Services Agency was postponed to April 20 at 10:00 am in Room 120 of the JAWB.   Technical difficulties prevented taping the hearing on Monday, thus the change.
  • The Committee on Health is holding a "Budget Open House" April 21 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm in the committee office, Suite 115 in JAWB.   Committee staffers have blocked their schedules and will be ready to chat with any advocate who feels like dropping by the office.   The goal is to provide people with an opportunity to talk with the committee staff in a more informal setting about concerns/thoughts/recommendations for how the committee should proceed with the FY 2012 budget.
  • The budget hearing schedule has changed.   Here is the April 18 edition (PDF).
  • The Committee on Public Works and Transportation has posted budget Q&A.   Agencies include WMATA and DMV.
  • Tenant Opportunity To Purchase Program public roundtable, April 19:   The Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (At-large CM Michael Brown, chair) is holding this roundtable April 19 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in the Council Chamber.

    Thanks to the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), thousands of DC residents have become homeowners and exerted control over their housing into the future.   This will be illustrated in the first look at "We Own This", a new documentary film about DC’s tenant purchase program.

    According to a Housing for All blog post, "residents and advocates will urge the Council to protect this vital tool for preserving affordable housing."   The mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget moves $18 million from the Housing Production Trust Fund, the main source of financing for the tenant purchase program, to another housing program.   Advocates and residents report that the slowed real estate market has reduced funds going into the Housing Production Trust Fund; this has had a dramatic negative effect on the number of "tenants who can get an affordable loan from the city in order to purchase their building.   Now, the proposed $18 million cut from the Fund in the 2012 budget would essentially wipe out this funding source for new projects. Without financing from the Fund, tenant purchase will cease to be accessible to low-income residents."

    Mi Casa Inc.'s Juan Pablo Vacatello had this to say about the Tenant Purchase Program at CNHED’s Continuum of Housing Roundtable in March:

    There is return on the city’s investment. With a one-time investment, the city will receive back money from interest and principal payments from the loan. At the same time, tenant purchase is a unique tool that can be used to leverage significant private funds through public investment. The city’s investment can be one of the most cost-effective tools in terms of low-income housing preservation, especially in neighborhoods where replacement of affordable units lost would be much more expensive.

    Watch the roundtable on Channel 13, via the City Council's website (select Room 500) or via the OCT website (select Channel 13 and then on-demand).

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