The Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) has seen years of funding cuts, and subsequent years of budget stagnation. However, as of March 24th, HPAP’s future has changed. The Mayor announced in her budget that in addition to another $100 million in the Housing Production Trust Fund, she will be adding $6.3 million to HPAP! The proposed HPAP budget is now $16 million! In addition to this, there is currently HPAP legislation moving forward to increase the maximum HPAP loan amount to $80,000. All of these advances are good news to the affordable housing community. It is an indicator that we have government officials who care about affordable housing, and are listening to their constituents. It is an even greater indicator of the effort of affordable homeownership stakeholders and residents, and the power of advocacy.
As discussed in previous blogs, The Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) is a loan assistance program that has existed in the District for 30 years. The program provides interest-free second mortgages to first-time low-to moderate income homebuyers. This interest free loan, which the homebuyer repays, serves as a down payment on a house and also covers most of the closing costs. HPAP prepares its recipients by providing intensive financial and home buyer education, preparing them for the responsibilities and challenges of homeownership. This program has helped over 13,000 DC residents become homeowners, building assets for their families and anchoring them in their neighborhoods.
Last year, HPAP took a severe budget hit; funding was cut from $12.2 million to $9.7 million. Moreover, prior to the Great Recession, the maximum loan amount a person could receive from HPAP was $70,000, however it was cut to $40,000 during the recession, and has only increased to $50,000 since then. These cuts have undoubtedly impacted the program’s ability to serve the people of DC, with much greater demand than settlements, which is why housing advocates have been passionately fighting for funding increases and program improvements. This victory is key in the fight to improve HPAP.
HPAP is a program with a lot of potential, and it has enabled thousands of DC residents to purchase homes. Through previous advocacy efforts, and our work with DHCD, steps have been taken to make HPAP more efficient. Last year, we were able to improve the HPAP process, by eliminating the second inspection that HPAP required, which was costly and deterred people from selling to HPAP buyers. This increase in the HPAP budget is just another step towards making the program one that effectively serves the needs of DC residents.