CNHED Hosts Meaningful Advocacy Day

Manna joined with CNHED and other groups across the Continuum of Housing to advocate at the DC City Council for various affordable housing and economic development needs on Monday, April 13th. Our very own Marilyn Philips, was one of the main speakers. She eloquently shared with a full room about what a difference the HPAP program will make in her ability to purchase a home with her husband Kelvin.

Both Councilmember Jack Evans and Councilmember Muriel Bowser joined the 100+ affordable housing crowd to demonstrate their support. A huge “Thank you” goes out to CNHED for their efforts to organize such a powerful advocacy team! Below please find this year’s budget ask to support a variety of housing needs across the Continuum! For access to more Advocacy Day pictures, please click here: 

Picture taken by Pablo Benavente

The proposed FY 14 budget reflects the work of the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force and is an important first step toward solving systemic problems.  It provides resources with which to help people leave emergency shelter and provides significant new resources with which to create and preserve additional units of affordable housing for low-income residents of the District.

District residents have highlighted the needs for affordable housing in events across the city and in the One City Summit where it was the number one participant concern.  Mayor Gray has proposed a budget that invests in programs we know work to reduce homelessness and housing burden.  Now, Council has the opportunity to take these proposals even further.  CNHED’s recommendations for the FY 14 budget are:

Maintain the FY 14 portion of the $100 million commitment to affordable housing proposed by Mayor Gray.

$20 million dollars to permanently end transfers from the Trust Fund to pay for the Local Rent Supplement          Program

  • $3 million for Project and Sponsor Based Local Rent Supplement Program – in addition to the $2 million committed for FY 14 by Council last year.  $2 million should remain committed to permanent supportive housing particularly for homeless families and individuals through the Consolidated RFP, and $3 million should be made available as soon as possible for projects that serve households at 0 – 30% Area Median Income, with preference given to permanent supportive housing in general.
  • $1 million for the Home Purchase Assistance Program which partially offsets reduced local funding
  • Additional funds for: Emergency Rental Assistance, Rapid Rehousing, Victims Services Housing, and a Housing Database

 Protect the Housing Production Trust Fund

  • Monitor the $4 million “borrowed” for summer school

Mayor Gray proposed using $67 million of the FY 13 supplemental to jump start affordable housing production through the Trust Fund.  The Council voted to “borrow” $4 million of those dollars.  DC can’t reach its housing production goals if the Trust Fund can be used for other programs.  We need a clear commitment that those funds will be repaid at the end of the WMATA fiscal year.  The Mayor has committed to stopping the practice of transferring funds from the Trust Fund for other purposes.  We need the Council to do the same. 

Fund programs that address the immediate housing needs of low income DC households.

  • Add $4.3 million to the Permanent Supportive Housing Program for chronically homeless households.

To move and keep people out of homelessness, and to help them reach their full economic potential, the budget must include housing for the chronically homeless that is paired with appropriate levels of services.  The Interagency Council on Homelessness Permanent Supportive Housing Production Committee recommends adding $4.3 million for leasing and services under this program to implement the first year of a 7 year plan to meet the need for long term subsidy with services for the chronically homeless.

  • Add $2 million to the tenant based Local Rent Supplement Program to eliminate housing burden for 130 extremely low income households.

The “first installment” in DC’s comprehensive housing strategy should include funding for both the production of new units that will become available beginning in 2015 and funding for tenant based vouchers to begin housing people on the DC Housing Authority’s waiting list this year.  $2 million of tenant based LRSP would eliminate housing burden for 130 extremely low income households and reflect the 70/30 allocation of funds between the project/sponsor based and tenant based elements of the program that the Housing Authority Board has historically supported.

Fully fund the Home Purchase Assistance Program.

  • Restore the $1 million needed to keep level funding. 

Homeownership stabilizes neighborhoods and helps break the cycle of poverty by building generational wealth, but DC has a very low homeownership rate. The Home Purchase Assistance Program helps DC realize those benefits by helping low and moderate income families become homeowners. HPAP also has a lower foreclosure rate than the regional average, due to homeowner training provided by nonprofits.

The proposed FY 14 budget recognizes success by increasing funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program.

 This program allows the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide grants that fund community-based nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance, support, and training to small and retail businesses in DC. The program is focused on neglected commercial corridors in low- and moderate-income areas. Neighborhoods benefiting from this investment include: Rhode Island Avenue, NE, Petworth, Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, Georgia Avenue, Congress Heights, Columbia Heights, Anacostia, and more.

SBTA grant recipients provide individual entrepreneurs with business planning, micro-loan packaging, entrepreneurial assistance, and legal assistance.

Grant recipients are also engaged in business attraction, business retention, and collective business support activities including the formation of business alliances, business corridor promotion, mass marketing, volume discount efforts, and collective space management.

Grantees collaborate closely with DHCD, DSLBD, other government agencies, and each other to amplify every dollar to support small business in DC.

This year, SBTA grantees worked with CNHED and the Department of Small and Local Business Development to spearhead a series of Small Business Policy Forums that engage small businesses, government officials, and technical assistance providers in frank and focused conversation about what small businesses need in order to perform even better going forward.  They also testified in support of more standardized outcomes measures for SBTA grantees in order to better integrate their services and document the successes of the program.

DC Council and Mayor Gray have emphasized the key role of small businesses in our economy.

Grantees help start, sustain, and strengthen local small businesses, which in turn create jobs, generate revenues, and pay taxes in the District. Local small businesses pay business and payroll taxes, create jobs for local employees who pay income taxes, and encourage neighborhood transformation.  District government and residents have spoken out about the need for neighborhood serving retail, and it was a major theme in the results of the One City Summit attended by 1800 people.

The Council has supported this program in the past, and DC communities need it to do so again.

The Small Business Technical Assistance program helps stabilize neighborhoods, creates jobs, and helps keep needed tax revenue in the District. CNHED’s recommendation for the FY 14 budget is:

Support the proposed Small Business Technical Assistance budget of $2.7 million.

  • $2 million (an increase of $208,000) in the FY 2014 budget
    • An additional $700,000 in the Additional Revenue Contingency List in the Budget Support Act
Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Wealth Divide Update: 20% Downpayment Requirement?

The Urban Institute recently published this video creatively depicting the current wealth divide.

The question at hand among financial analysts, mortgage industry experts, congress persons, federal banking advisers and housing non-profits is as follows: Should banks require a 20 percent downpayment for all housing purchasers in order to ensure the safety of the financial institutions and prevent future financial crisis?

While downpayment costs have historically required 3-3.5% of the buyer, 20% downpayment requirements are being considered. On face value, it seems logical to some to require more of an upfront commitment on behalf of the buyers. However, deeper investigation shows African American, Latino and low-to-moderate income persons would need anywhere from 20-30 years to be able to save up enough money to purchase a home.

Homeownership  continues to be a primary way to close the wealth gap, to open doors of opportunity for those who have frequently found closed doors. Requiring 20 percent Down Payments Could Exacerbate Wealth Inequality, a recent article published by the Urban Institute weighs explains the impact of such a decision:

A 20 percent or even a 10 percent down payment requirement is likely to make homeownership difficult, especially for families with low and middle wealth or income, including many young families and families of color. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that based on median incomes, it will take nearly 25 years for a typical Hispanic household to save for a 10 percent down payment loan and nearly 30 years for a typical African American household.

downPayment*Graph taken from Requiring 20 percent Down Payments Could Exacerbate Wealth Inequality.

If 20% downpayment assistance is required, further wealth division will ensue. America will find itself catapulted to the 1950’s, a time when these sorts of divisions were sanctioned by housing policy. Ta-Nehisi Coates author of, The Ghetto is Public Policy states:

Contract buying sprang up in Chicago (around the 1950’s) after the federal government effectively refused to insure mortgages for the vast majority of black homeowners, even as it was insuring the mortgages of white homeowners, and encouraged banks to redline black and integrated neighborhoods. The import of mid-20th century housing policy — along with private actions (riots, block-busting, contract lending, covenants) — has been devastating for African Americans.

While the thought of returning to mid-20th century housing policy which devastated African American families depresses, two notable federal credit unions have looked at other factors outside of a buyer’s capacity to make large downpayments to measure buyer credibility.  According to Kenneth Harney’s recent Washington Post article, both the Navy Federal Credit Union and the NASA Federal Credit Union have been offering zero-downpayment loans for qualified purchasers. Navy Federal Credit Union makes most of its loans in the $200,00 range while ensuring buyers are credit worthy. NASA Federal Credit Union prefers FICO scores in the mid-700’s and has a rigorous underwriting process.

While these programs are just getting underway, research performed by Neil Mayer & Associates along with Experain based on approximately 75,000 mortgage loans originating in 2007, 2008 and 2009 proves their validity.  In the Neighborworks article The Effects of Pre-Purchase Education and Couseling, the effectiveness of pre-purchase counseling is highlighted. Homebuyers who received counseling and advice were one-third less likely to fall behind on their mortgage 90 days or more, two years after taking out the loan, compared to homebuyers who didn’t receive counseling and education.

So  which way is the best way forward? How do we ensure we make wise financial decisions and yet refuse to take steps backwards in the progress made towards racial equality?

We’d like for you to weigh-in! Please take time to read the articles listed below before submitting comment. Your thoughtful and intentional responses are welcome!

The Ghetto is Public Policy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Requiring 20 percent Down Payments could Exacerbate Wealth Inequity by Signe-Mary McKernan

Downpayment rules at the heart of the mortgage debate by Peter Eavis

Household Formation Slows, Homeownership Rates Fall by Shipli Paul

For a couple of mortgage lenders, a down payment of zero is just fine by Kenneth R. Harney

The Effects of Pre-Purchase Education and Counseling by NeighborWorks Organizations

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Anacostia River Reality Champions HPAP

Anacostia Picture

Darrin Davis, Owner of Anacostia River Reality gave public testimony at Councilwoman Muriel Bowser’s Economic Development oversight hearing last week Wednesday.  Mr. Davis spoke during the DHCD oversight portion along with five other folks from Manna, Inc. advocating on behalf of keeping the FY2013 HPAP funding levels.

My name is Darrin Davis. I live in Ward 8. I am the owner of Anacostia River Realty. We specialize in real estate and development in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. I am interested in speaking here today because I think it is important that HPAP funding should be restored to 2013 levels. As a real estate broker, I have worked with many clients who have benefited from the program. These are buyers who are in need of some form of assistance in order to purchase a home.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the country’s homeownership rate is at 66.3%. The District has a dismal homeownership rate of 45%. The HPAP financial closing cost assistance is important because it is one way that we can increase home ownership in Washington, DC. On a home price of $250,000 the closing cost can be upwards of $15,000. Even though some residents would be able to afford a monthly mortgage payment, due to the lack of upfront funds needed for closing cost they may not be able to purchase a home. These funds are especially important for those residents who are seeking housing in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River where the homeownership rate is 40% in Ward 7 and 24% in Ward 8.

Affordable housing and homeownership programs, like HPAP, should be readily available to residents who qualify. As DC neighborhoods change and prices and gentrification increases, I am afraid that within the next few years, homeownership will not be an option for low to moderate income residents.

HPAP has a lower foreclosure rate than the regional average, due to homeowner training provided by non-profits. Homeownership stabilizes neighborhoods and helps break the cycle of poverty by building generational wealth. The Home Purchase Assistance Program helps DC residents realize these benefits by helping low-to-moderate income families become home owners.

Since HPAP is so important, I ask that you advocate for maintaining the HPAP funding levels from 2013. DHCD did not report the full amount of the budget line item from last year and therefore we need the $1 million dollars to be restored to keep the same level of funding.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Committee for the opportunity to give voice to the many voiceless individuals from the community in which I serve.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Affordable Housing Advocacy Days!!!!


6th Annual Tenant Town Hall 

Saturday, May 18th

All Souls Unitarian Church

1500 Harvard St. NW

(16th and Columbia Rd. NW, 3 blocks from Columbia Heights Metro)

1-2 p.m.-Speak With DC Housing Agencies 

2-4 p.m.-Town Hall presentations by residents!!!

(*Including Manna’s own Marilyn Philips!)


For more information contact LEDC: 202-540-7437 




CNHED Affordable Housing Advocacy Day

Date: Monday, May 13th 

Time: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon 

Location: John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. Room 120)

Please join us as we fight for affordable housing across the

Continuum of Housing!

Need More Info? Contact Diane Spaite by phone (202) 832-1845 ext. 252

or by e-mail!


Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Waiting for Affordable Housing

The Kojo Nnamdi Show featured a piece on those waiting for affordable housing today. It captures a meaningful conversation between the Executive Director of the DC Housing Authority, Adrianne Todman; the Executive Director of the Coalition for CNHED, Robert Polman and Rebecca Lindhurst, Attorney at Bread for the City’s Legal Clinic.

This thoughtful dialogue is worth listening to. Click here to hear the discussion!


Manna Homes


Manna’s Ivy City homes pictured above! Click here for more affordable homes for sale!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Depressed Neighborhoods Need 5-year Resale Restrictions

On Thursday, March 28th DHCD had one of several Community Needs Assessment meetings in Ward 5. Manna submitted the following written testimony outlining homeownership needs across the District highlighting the importance of providing economic advancement through reducing the restriction timeframe and advocacting for land/property banking in depressed neighborhoods.

Positive Developments for Homeownership Policy

Good evening. My name is Sarah and I am the Director of Advocacy and Outreach at Manna, Inc. Thank you for the opportunity to testify concerning the direction of DHCD in fiscal year 2014. I would like to speak today about some positive developments in regards to homeownership policy coming out of DHCD and ask for further movement in that direction. Homeownership development is a small but important part of the Continuum of Housing options in DC, a continuum that includes supportive housing focused on the very low income, affordable rental, limited equity cooperatives, land trust models, etc. Homeownership has consistently received about 5% of the money within the Housing Production Trust Fund, and we hope with the $100 million investment into affordable housing by Mayor Gray that this percentage may increase a bit, especially in areas like Ward 7 and 8 on the cusp of further development where homeownership rates are low and poverty rates are high.

Importance of 5-year Resale Restrictions

We are excited that the two houses in DHCDʼs lottery at this yearʼs Housing Expo will have 5-year resale restrictions as opposed to the now typical 15 years or more. These homes for sale are located in areas of the city where home prices are already very low (in fact, I just saw a house in Deanwood priced at $89,000). Five-year restrictions in higher poverty neighborhoods where development has yet to take off is a way to provide prepared lower income buyers with not only an affordable place to live, but itʼs a way to provide economic advancement for them in the future and a way to lift up entire depressed neighborhoods.

There is consensus amongst nonprofit affordable homeownership developers (and others) that homes developed in depressed areas should have only a 5-year restricted period, with a permanent recapture/recycle provision that captures a certain amount upon resale but allows homeowners access to equity appreciation (which could also be accessed while they are living in the home).Providing homeownership options like this allow people to move up the economic ladder, get out of systems of dependency, and have a greater stake in the development of their communities.

Problematic 15-year Resale Restrictions

The current 15-year resale restrictions are hurting sales on these units in depressed neighborhoods, artificially depressing prices in the neighborhood, and ensuring that only the grandchildren of these owners be able to benefit from the investment of homeownership. We have heard that this is due to HOME funds being used in the development of various homeownership units and applying those requirements to other funding sources. When we have looked at HOME regulations, they do not require resale restrictions in all cases; they allow for ‘recapture’ in lieu of restrictions and even allow no restrictions or recapture if the agency satisfies the test for likely long-term affordability without restrictions based on neighborhood pricing. The District has unilateral rights to use options in HOME regulations and should consider these options.

Land and Property Banking for Homeownership

Finally, we believe that DHCD should spearhead land and property banking, particularly for homeownership in Wards 7 and 8. The city did this in Ivy City and has provided affordable homeownership opportunities for folks in that area as a result; the only downside has been the long-tern restrictions. If the city does not move forward in coordinating this effort, the available options for low and moderate people to purchase will eventually get bought up by speculators and investors. Thank you for all the Department does and we look forward to continuing our important work with you.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Mayor allocates affordable housing dollars

Check out the affordable housing fund allocations included in Mayor Gray’s recent budget release! Sometimes we rally our advocacy voices and wonder if all of our time, energy and efforts are worthwhile. This week we can see the tangible results of housing funds allocated for fiscal years 2013-2014.

Permanent Fix to the Trust Fund: Mayor Gray has committed $20 million to undo the cut from the Housing Production Trust Fund that was used to pay for the Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP). Going forward, LRSP will be funded separately, and the Trust Fund will have access to this dedicated revenue every year.

An Additional $67 Million for the Trust Fund: After years of low funding in the Housing Production Trust Fund, the Fund is getting a one-time boost of $67 million to support the production and preservation of affordable housing for low-t0-moderate income residents.

Operating Subsidies to Develop Supportive Housing: Mayor Gray committed at least $3 million to the Local Rent Supplement Program for building project and sponsor based units to serve very low income residents and residents with severe barriers to stable housing.

Additional Investment in HPAP: The Home Purchase Assistance Program will receive an additional $1 million to make homeownership possible for more District residents.

*Above stats taken from CNHED’s website. Click here to see more of the article.

Manna, Inc. is encouraged by the renewed commitment to HPAP since we anticipated cuts to this essential program! We know HPAP has assisted over 13,000 DC residents move out of systems of dependency and ongoing subsidy, and currently generates $2 million in repayment every year. We will continue to work with CNHED and keep you updated on our next steps as an advocacy team to support HPAP.

Such notable affordable housing budget decisions would not be possible without public testimonies, hours of dedication to public hearings and collective HAT members raising their voices in support!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Community Needs Assessment Hearings with DHCD

The DC Department of Housing and Community Development

Hosts a Series of Community Needs Assessment Hearings

Michael P. Kelly, Director of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), announces a series of public hearings on “Housing and Community Development Needs in the District of Columbia”.  The hearing will help form a basis for developing the District’s draft “Consolidated Plan for the District of Columbia Fiscal Year 2014 Action Plan” and the spending priorities utilizing federal entitlement funds.  DHCD, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health will each provide input into the plan.

Residents and stakeholders are strongly encouraged to come out and participate in the development of policies and programs in the following areas: 1) affordable housing; 2) special needs housing; 3) homelessness; 4) homeownership; and, 5) community development and public service activities.  The Department is also interested in receiving community feedback on innovative strategies to enhance community participation during this planning process.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013 ~ 6:30 pm

1800 Martin Luther King Jr, Avenue, SE, 1st Floor Conference Room


Tuesday, March 26, 2013 ~ 6:30 pm

Frank D. Reeves Municipal Building

2000 14th Street, NW, 2nd Floor Community Room


Wednesday, March 27, 2013 ~ 1:00 pm

Focus: Special Needs Housing

(includes housing needs for the homeless, persons with disabilities and persons living with AIDS)

1800 Martin Luther King Jr, Avenue, SE, 1st Floor Conference Room


Thursday, March 28, 2013 ~ 6:30 pm

The Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. Family Life Community Center

605 Rhode Island Avenue, NE

District of Columbia residents who would like to present oral testimony are encouraged to register in advance either by e-mail at or by calling 202.442.7200.  Please provide your name, address, telephone number, and organization affiliation, if any.

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) relay service is available by calling (800) 201-7165.  A sign language interpreter will be provided upon request by calling (202) 442-7251 five days prior to the hearing date.

Residents who require language interpretation should specify which language (Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese-Mandarin/Cantonese, Amharic, or French). Interpretation services will be provided to pre-registered persons only. Deadline for requesting services of an interpreter is five days prior to the hearing date.  Bilingual staff will provide services on an availability basis to walk-ins without registration.

Written statements may be submitted for the record at the hearing, or until close of business, Friday, April 12, 2013.  Mail written statements to: Michael P. Kelly, Director, DHCD, 1800 Martin Luther King Jr., Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20020. EA


Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Housing Task Force Report Released

Dear Dedicated and Faithful HAT members,

Thank you for all of the time, energy and effort you committed to being at the Housing Task Force meetings in which you shared public testimony during two different hearings held in November 2013. Thank you for supporting the Continuum of Housing and for listening to your fellow neighbors share their testimonies!

We are happy to let you know that the Housing Task Force Report has been released. There are a couple of important reccomendations the Task Force made:

1.) Preserving approximately 8,000 existing affordable housing units with subsidies that will expire by the year 2020.

2.) Producing and preserving 10,000 net new affordable housing units by the year 2020 (10 by 20).

3.) Supporting the production of 3,000 market rate housing units annually through 2020.

Also, please note:

4.) HAT’s testimonies on ADU restrictions led to reccomendation for study and scrutiny of the ADU program.

The report can be located by following this link: Housing Task Force Report.  Please take time to read the report! If you pay close attention you’ll see pictures of Manna’s very own folks on page 3 of the report: Eugene Griffin, Billy Hart, Sarah and Robert Cooke are all pictured at the top of the page!

We have much more work to do but this is a good step in the right direction.

With sincere gratitude,

The Manna Team

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print

Upcoming Top Priority Housing Advocacy Team Dates!

Date Event Location Priority
Wednesday,   March 13th-10:30 a.m. Resident   Advocacy Training at Bread for the City SE 1640   Good Hope Rd. SE(Every   Wednesday until April 10th) Optional
Tuesday,   March 26th-6:30 p.m.

DC Department of Housing Public 2014   Fiscal Year Forum

 Residents and stakeholders are strongly encouraged to come out and participate in the development of policies and   programs in the following areas:

1) affordable housing; 2)   special needs housing; 3) homelessness; 4) homeownership; and, 5)   community development and public service activities.


2000 14th Street NW 2nd Floor Community Room Optional
Thursday,   March 28th-6:30 p.m. DC Department of Housing Public Fiscal Year Forum (See above for further detail) Family Community Life Center- 605 Rhode Island Avenue NE Optional
Thursday,   March 28th Mayor Releases budget to the council
Thursday,   April 11th -6:00 p.m. Ward   2 Town Hall meeting Foundry   United Methodist Church: 1500 16th St. NW Optional
Wednesday, April 24th -10:00   a.m. Committee on Economic Development:   Department of Housing and Community Development (includes Housing Production   Trust Fund & HPAP)-Councilmember Bowser City Council building: 1350 Pennsylvania   Ave. NW Washington, DC 20004 Top Priority
Friday,   May 3rd -10:00 a.m. Committee   of the Whole: Budget Request Act hearing (you can testify on anything not   covered in hearings) City Council building: 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20004 Optional
Tuesday, May 21st(Tentative)  CNHED/Housing for All Advocacy Day City Council building! Top Priority
June   (TBA) Ward   1 Town Hall meeting TBA Optional
Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Print