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WASHINGTON, DC-Washington, DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty revealed another component to his administration’s affordable-housing preservation plan to members of the Washington Interfaith Network at the First Rock Baptist Church Tuesday evening. Chief among the new provisions was the promise to preserve at least 500 units of affordable housing in the Columbia Heights, Brightwood, Deanwood Heights and Washington Highlands neighborhoods during the next two years.

As part of the city’s larger Homeless No More Plan, the District wants to end homelessness within 10 years. As part of that plan, it expects to guide the development of 2,500 units of permanent supportive housing during the next seven years.

“We are facing a real crisis of affordability in this city,” Fenty says. “We need to address the housing needs for all residents–at all levels of need–from the chronically homeless, to those struggling with monthly rent payments, to those scrimping to come up with a down payment for their first house.”

At the WIN gathering, at which WIN co-chairs Rev. Lionel Edmonds and Rev. Joseph Daniels and Rev. Anthony Minter, WIN clergy leader, were also present, Fenty announced plans to introduce legislation next month that would give the District the authority to block condo conversions where there are existing code violations. Danilo Pelletiere, research director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, tells GlobeSt.com that making sure landlords aren’t rewarded by bad behavior is an important piece in any affordable housing initiative. Fenty’s plan, he says, “seems to be on the right track in addressing the most severe affordable housing problems in the city.”

Clearly the availability of affordable housing in the District was severely impacted by the condo conversions of the last few years, he continues. “So there is a definite need for an accounting not only of what was lost but what have the affordable housing initiatives thus far produced and who they are serving,” he says. In general, city or municipal affordable housing plans tend to skip that step. In the District, though, “there has been some movement in the council to add that piece.”

Other components to the District’s affordable housing initiative include the creation of a SWAT team to monitor federal and privately-owned at-risk properties to prevent foreclosures; a city commitment to provide $117 million in new revenue each year for affordable housing; and plans to dedicate a property at Fourth and H St. NW to Catholic Charities for a 150-unit development for the homeless.

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