Message From The Executive Director
On March 3, 1979, the government of the District of Columbia created the Housing Finance Agency to accomplish a single purpose:
"To increase the supply of affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities available in the District of Columbia through the provision of attractive, below market financing solutions."
In the thirty years since that day, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency has worked to fulfill its mission by providing capital for more than 27,000 units of affordable rental housing, helping over 6,000 District residents realize the American dream of homeownership, and investing no less than $2.5 billion into the economy of Washington, DC. We have and will continue to consistently advance the cause of all residents of the District of Columbia who desire to have safe, decent, and affordable housing.
The start of our thirtieth anniversary year has proven that change will remain a constant companion to our industry in the near future. Therefore, both availability and access to information will be key for any business seeking to effectively adapt and remain competitive. Consistent with that principle, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency has identified 2009 as an ideal time to enhance the way we communicate with our partners.
By launching our newly designed website (www.dchfa.org), our goal is to expand the availability of and ease of access to information that directly impacts housing development and ownership in Washington, D.C. From our developers' page to our resource center, you will find not only information about the programs offered by the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency, but information about other industry partners or policies that might impact your housing project as well.
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DCHFA Kicks Off Its Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration
The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency kicked off its thirty year anniversary with a cocktail reception attended by 200 of its industry partners. The celebration was held in the Atrium of the Agency's headquarters building and featured the sultry songs of Legacy Jazz Quartet. 'The food is delicious, drinks are flowing, and the crowd is electric' said one attendee.
And while the reception was truly intended to celebrate and have a good time, it also included two ceremonial resolutions and a Mayoral congratulatory letter to acknowledge the Agency's accomplishments over the years. 'I think the fact that we can attribute the creation or preservation of over 33,000 units of affordable housing in the District to the efforts of the Agency's hardworking staff and Board, both past and present, is something that should definitely be highlighted' said Executive Director Harry D. Sewell. Sewell presided over the ceremonial Board Resolution acknowledging the anniversary. He called upon all former and current Board members present to join him at the front as he read and they each signed the resolution.
The Agency was also honored and privileged to have Councilmember Marion Barry in attendance to present a ceremonial City Council Resolution on behalf of City Council Chairman Vincent Gray. "I remember it vividly because its [the Agency's] birthday was just a couple of months after my first inauguration as Mayor of this great city. Who could have imagined back then that the creation of this one agency would contribute to the provision of affordable housing to over 33,000 individuals and families in the District?" Barry recalled.
Chairman Gray was unable to attend due to a conflict with the Council Hearing to discuss the funds available to the District as a result of President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 0f 2009 (ARRA) legislation but sent his congratulations. Councilmember Michael D. Brown (I- At-Large) was also in attendance.
The event was catered by Georgia Brown's Restaurant and featured delectable dishes such as fried green tomatoes, salmon pastries and mini crab cakes just to name a few.
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Agency Launches Its Redesigned Website
On March 17th, DCHFA officially announced the launch of its newly redesigned website. The much improved website offers great new features; pertinent, easy to find information; a more user-friendly layout; and an updated look and feel. When the Agency's Executive Director, Harry D. Sewell was asked his thoughts about the new website, he responded 'the redesign of the website was timed to coincide with the agency's thirtieth anniversary and reflects our theme of embracing a changing industry. I thought it was important to create a separate section of the website that specifically targeted our investor community. It is clear that the Mortgage Revenue Bond industry is facing a new economic reality and we felt this is one way to demonstrate to investors and others that DCHFA understands this.'
In addition to investors, the websites resources address the needs of homebuyers; affordable multifamily housing developers; and the property management companies that service Agency-financed affordable multifamily projects.
To view the new website or to learn more about DCHFA programs, go to www.dchfa.org.
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Smart Growth: DCHFA Finances Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
The DC Housing Finance Agency issued $13 million in long and short term debt to finance the ground up construction of this 100% affordable, 72 unit rental housing project called Residences at Georgia Avenue. Located within 1500 feet of the Petworth Metro Station, the TOD is a major contribution to the revitalization of a targeted corridor and includes a Yes! Organic Market in its ground floor retail space. 'This project is a perfect example of how we can leverage our resources to both greatly improve the vitality of Georgia Avenue and provide residents with the kind of high quality and convenient neighborhood amenities they both expect and deserve' said Mayor Adrian Fenty during his remarks at the March 31st ribbon-cutting. The ceremony was also attended by Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser.
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Affordable Mortgages and Workforce Housing
Although most people think of doctors when a hospital is mentioned, in actuality, there are few places with higher concentrations of what are deemed workforce populations. With a preponderance of nurses, technicians, building maintenance and cafeteria workers it is no wonder they make a great partnering opportunity for DCHFA's affordable mortgage program.
On April 9th, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) joined forces with the Benefits Department of Howard University Hospital (HUH) as it sponsored an Employee Benefits Fair. Gwen Adams, Director of DCHFA's Home Resource Center, said 'the event was a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with many people who are still on the fence about buying a home. Unlike the past few years, these days when we attend outreach events, our biggest goal is to educate the consumer that now is a great time to buy!'
And as they have done for several years, Adams and her staff provided information about the Agency's free monthly homebuyer seminars; its special promotional interest rate currently available; and upcoming Open Houses for housing developments around the city with for-sale units available within qualified price ranges.
Adams' efforts are clearly paying off as HUH has requested that she conduct in-house homebuyer education seminars for its staff. Per Adams 'one woman named Ms. Tyler visited the booth just to let me know that as a result of the information she received through our efforts, she is now a proud District homeowner'.
For more information about any of these opportunities visit the Homebuyers' page on the Agency's website at www.dchfa.org.
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Mission Statement: The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency was established in 1979 to stimulate and expand homeownership and rental housing opportunities in Washington, D.C. We accomplish our mission by issuing mortgage revenue bonds that lower the homebuyers' costs of purchasing homes and the developers' costs of acquiring, constructing and rehabilitating rental housing. We embrace our responsibility with conviction and pledge our best efforts to serve as the city's champion for homeowners and renters and to act as the city's principal catalyst for neighborhood investment.
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