Immediate, safe shelter for domestic violence victims and trusted, community-based healthcare can be extremely difficult to find anywhereespecially in Washington, D.C. Thankfully, a federal program called the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), with 20 years of success and bipartisan support, attracts private investment from across the country to assist those most in needand is working effectively in the District using allocations from D.C. Housing Enterprises (DCHE) to fund programs at DC SAFE and the Whitman-Walker project.
John Stringfield, DCHEs President and a Board Member of the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, has led the charge to reinvigorate DCHEs comprehensive strategy. Since Stringfield became President, DCHE has been allocated $55 million in tax credits with plans to apply for more than $63 million in the next application round.
We have at least five more projects lined up for NMTC allocations so far, said Stringfield, including a unique opportunity to provide $15.5 million in operating capital investment to Howard University, the largest HBCU in the country.
Founded as a Community Development Entity (CDE) in 2009 and based in Washington, DCHE has closed on $147 million in projects covering K-12 education, affordable housing creation, health care, and other services needed by low-income residents, such as the D.C. Housing Authoritys residents.
We are focused on finalizing investments with our current allocation and plan to apply annually to utilize the resources of this amazing program, Stringfield added. Unfortunately, the NMTC program is set to expire in 2025 without swift action by Congress.
DCHE established its Community Development Entity with the express purpose of attracting greater New Markets Tax Credits investments to the District of Columbia. In 2009 the program launched to spur investment in affordable housing, hospitals, and education, all in economically distressed neighborhoods in Washington, DC.
Two examples of DCHEs funding at work in the District include the DC SAFE 24-hour shelter and the Whitman-Walker expansion, with funding for both projects closing earlier this year.
DC SAFE, DCs only shelter dedicated to survivors of domestic violence, has a long history of serving very low-income individuals. An evaluation of client records from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2018, confirmed that of the 524 clients who provided income data, 100 percent were below 50 percent of AMI, and 95 percent were below 30 percent of AMI. Beginning in 2018, SAFE began collecting client income data, which provides a clear record of its consistent services to low-income individuals.
The DC SAFE project will result in the following benefits:
- 700 low-income individuals and families receiving emergency shelter annually;
- 3,300 low-income families receiving counseling and advocacy services annually;
- 163 estimated construction jobs;
- 30 estimated jobs at tenant organizations created or preserved;
- 35 percent participation by minority subcontractors in construction; and
- 30 high-need temporary housing units in a transit-accessible location for low-income
individuals and families.
The facility will also host several non-profits on its first floor and garden level.
Whitman-Walker, a long-time part of the fabric of the District, recently used NMTC financing from DCHE to implement the most ambitious expansion of services in its history, with a new facility on the campus of St. Elizabeths East. The project is Whitman-Walker's next step in responding to community needs, providing equitable access to care in Wards 7 and 8. Its planned 118,000-square-foot healthcare care home and research and education center will allow Whitman-Walker to serve more than 15,000 patients per yearan increase of 10,000 patients from the current Max Robinson Center services. Additionally, the new space will create 100 new jobs and will expand efforts to perform life-saving research to help end the HIV epidemic, eliminate health disparities and promote wellness and resiliency.
"We look forward to deploying capital to empower more organizations to achieve their goals and support our communities and are extremely proud that our investments in Whitman-Walker and DC SAFE will expand services as well as create more than 150 new jobs, said Stringfield. New Market Tax Credits enhance DCHEs ability to invest in projects that will forge new partnerships and create new opportunities for individuals and businesses in communities where those projects will make the greatest impact.
In addition to financing for DC SAFE and Whitman-Walker, DCHE is working to use more than $15.5 million in NMTC allocations to fund projects at the Howard University Center of Excellence in Housing and Urban Research and Policy, including scholarships for low-income students, services used by low-income current and prospective Howard University students and a study on affordable and public housing conditions in Washington, D.C.
NMTCs attract private investment through allocated tax credits, which are used to incentivize community development and effectively support quality jobs with strong wages in both urban and rural low-income communities. NMTCs create other community benefits, such as increased access to health care, early childcare, education, job training, healthy food, and arts.
Since its inception, the NMTC program has generated more than one million jobs. Today, due to the NMTC, nearly $125 billion is hard at work in underserved communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Currently, the NMTC program is not a permanent part of the tax code and is set to expire in 2025. Now is the time for Congress to create a permanent NMTC program, which has long enjoyed bipartisan support, and deliver a lasting solution that creates good paying jobs and positive community impacts in communities like Washington, D.C.
ABOUT DCHEDC Housing Enterprises (DCHE) is a non-profit subsidiary of the District of Columbia Housing Authority and is one of the few Public Housing Authorities that the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) has certified as a Community Development Entity (CDE). As a CDE, DCHE originates New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) by providing tax credits to investors in return for equity investments in businesses that serve low-income communities.
D.C. Housing Enterprises (DCHE)
D.C. Housing Enterprises (DCHE)
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Endowment Lock journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.