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Mayor Bowser Announces $2 Million Fund to Help Non-Profit Developers Finance Affordable Housing

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Named After the Late Oramenta Newsome, New Fund Will Help Non-Profit Developers Secure Capital

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser today announced a new $2 million fund to help non-profit developers secure capital for predevelopment soft costs – a common obstacle when financing affordable housing projects. Through the fund, which is named after the late Oramenta Newsome, developers will be able to receive loans of up to $100,000 per project. The Mayor announced the fund at a memorial service for Newsome at THEARC.

“Oramenta made it her mission to serve the vulnerable, better neighborhoods across the District, and look out for longtime Washingtonians – in many ways, she wrote the book on DC values,” said Mayor Bowser. “This fund honors Oramenta’s legacy by supporting our nonprofit partners who are continuing her work to bring more affordable housing to District residents.”

The fund was established with $1 million from the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) and $1 million from the DC Housing Finance Agency’s (DCHFA) McKinney Act Fund. By providing early capital, the Oramenta Newsome Predevelopment Loan Assistance Fund for Non-Profit Developers (Newsome Fund) will help qualified non-profit organizations and limited equity cooperatives (LECs) meet the application requirements of the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) consolidated request for proposals (RFP) for affordable housing projects. 

“Oramenta served as our beloved executive director for nearly 25 years and was a pioneer in seeking innovative ways to connect investment capital to fulfill a nonprofit’s vision to provide affordable housing,” said LISC DC Acting Director Ramon Jacobson. “Therefore, it’s most fitting that a fund carrying her name will help more nonprofits bring their affordable housing projects to fruition.”

“DHCD’s goal is to find new and innovative ways to remove any barriers to the production and preservation of more affordable housing in the District,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “We recognize that the predevelopment activities required of developers as part of an RFP application, such as architectural plans and third party reports, have a substantial cost that can delay forward momentum. This fund will help defray such costs, taking projects from vision to reality much faster.”

Funds are available on a rolling basis beginning June 1, and applicants can submit funding requests at any time, subject to fund availability. Developers will need to meet certain application and eligibility criteria and will have 1:1 match requirement for loan funds. They will be able to fulfill this requirement using grants, debt, or equity from any non-DHCD source, which may include DCHFA’s McKinney Act fund. The loan term will be for two years.

Since coming into office, the Bowser Administration has sparked the creation or preservation of more than 10,800 affordable units, with another 5,200 in preconstruction.To build on these efforts, Mayor Bowser recently announced the appointment of a preservation officer and the selection of two managers for a $10 million public-private preservation fund. Additionally, the Bowser Administration recently launched Roots to Roofs DC, an initiative that highlights the programs, tools, and resources the Administration is using to make Washington, DC more affordable for residents in all eight wards.

Applications for the Oramenta Newsome Predevelopment Loan Assistance Fund for Non-Profit Developers will be accepted beginning June 1, 2018. DHCD and the DCHFA will administer the fund.