Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) urged residents to take advantage of two important homeownership programs: the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). Both programs have dates coming up that residents should know about: On September 30, the District’s Foreclosure Moratorium will end, but homeowners who have struggled to keep up with mortgage and bill payments can get protection from foreclosure if they have applied to HAF by the deadline. Additionally, on October 1, which marks the start of the new fiscal year, the maximum down payment assistance that residents can receive through HPAP will increase from $80,000 to $202,000.
“We know that homeownership is an important tool for closing racial wealth gaps in our city. We also know that for people without generational wealth, the idea of becoming and staying a homeowner can be daunting,” said Mayor Bowser. “But we have programs and resources in our city that can open doors that people may not have even thought possible. One way we can keep more Washingtonians in DC is by making sure our neighbors know about these programs and are using them.”
The Mayor launched the $50-million Homeowner Assistance Fund in June 2022 to provide financial assistance to residents struggling to make housing related payments. Through HAF, eligible homeowners can apply for grant funding to cover mortgage payments and other property or housing expenses, including utilities, insurance, internet assistance, and housing association fees. When the foreclosure moratorium ends in September, foreclosure proceedings may resume unless homeowners have an existing financial assistance application under review, pending approval, pending payment, or under appeal by the HAF program. More information, including eligibility requirements, can be found at haf.dc.gov. Interested applicants may also call (202) 540-7407 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm if they have questions or want to connect with a housing counselor for a virtual or in-person appointment. As of August 15, 2022, 875 HAF applications have been submitted and another 1,244 residents have started applications.
For residents who are looking to become homeowners, HPAP provides interest-free loans and closing cost assistance to qualified applicants to purchase single family houses, condominiums, or cooperative units in the District. The loan amount is based on a combination of factors, including income, household size, and the amount of assets that each applicant must commit toward a property’s purchase. In addition to the HPAP down payment assistance, eligible homebuyers may also be eligible for $4,000 in closing cost assistance. Residents can find more information about HPAP, including how much assistance they qualify for and how to start the HPAP process, at dhcd.dc.gov.
The Home Purchase Assistance Program Homebuyer Assistance Table reflects homebuyer assistance amounts based on household income.
“Owning a home is a way to build wealth, especially in a thriving city like DC, but rising costs have put this goal out of reach for too many residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “The Home Purchase Assistance Program helps first-time homeowners achieve this important milestone. It is also yet another example of how the District can help close the racial wealth gap by making homeownership accessible to residents who have historically been left behind.”
In addition to HPAP and HAF, the District has more than 50 resources to help District residents thrive as homeowners, and residents can learn more about those programs at frontdoor.dc.gov.
“When we say the District is not only helping people obtain homeownership, but also maintain homeownership, we mean it,” said Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Interim Director Drew Hubbard. “And to help you on your way and as evidence of our commitment, we’ve got a network of community-based organizations to help. So, call on us wherever you are on your homeownership journey.”
Mayor Bowser’s FY23 Budget makes additional investments in many of the District’s housing programs, including:
- Funding the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and the Employer-Assisted Homeownership Program (EAHP) at $21 million and $6 million respectively, an increase of $3.1 million across the two programs from FY 2022 levels;
- Providing Heirs Property Legal Services to assist 1,000 individuals from multi-generational families in maintaining their family property after the original homeowner passes;
- Reducing the annual increase cap to property taxes for seniors from 5% to 2%;
- Increasing funding for the Single-Family Residential Rehab program, which helps low-income homeowners repair their homes;
- Investing more than $12 million in home weatherization, lead and mold remediation, and FloodSmart homes programs to help residents make their homes safer, healthier, greener and more affordable.