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D.C.’s Economically Challenged Families Will Have More Affordable Housing Options

Affordable rental units are now required to be for those making under 60 percent AMI

In Washington, D.C., most affordable housing options aren’t actually affordable for those with lower incomes. Taking a step in the right direction, the D.C. Zoning Commission voted this Wednesday to require developers to designate all affordable rental units for households that make under 60 percent of the area median income (AMI).

According to DCist, the majority of affordable rental units are designated for households making 80 percent AMI. With the current AMI for Washington, D.C. being $108,600 per year for a family of four, that means households of three making below $59,000 per year — who are living in affordable housing units designated for 80 percent AMI — have to pay $1,600/month for a one-bedroom apartment. For three-fourths of families on the Inclusionary Zoning housing program’s waiting list, this rent is too high.

Because of this vote, these same households will now pay $1,100/month for a one-bedroom apartment. According to DCist, over 2,600 apartments will be available to low-income families over the next 10 years.

The vote in favor of the 60 percent AMI requirement still needs to undergo a 30-day period of public review before a final vote.

According to the Inclusionary Zoning website, 8 to 10 percent of rental units require designation for affordable housing in new residential developments with at least 10 residential units, as well as in rehab projects that expand a building by at least 50 percent with at least 10 units added.