At Tuesday’s Council Legislative Session, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced the “Common Interest Communities Remedial Funding Act of 2017” to establish a pilot program that would provide non-taxable grants of up to $30,000 to cure housing and building code violations at low-income common interest communities, such as condominiums and cooperatives.
To qualify, a common interest community must consist of at least 10 units where 2/3 of the residents are at or below 60% Area Median Income, and the applicant must have outstanding violations from DCRA that would cost at least $5,000 to repair.
“Many low-income communities are in a state of distress. Buildings are in serious need of repair, roofs leak, and utilities need upgrading, but maintenance has been deferred as many of these associations and boards simply do not have adequate funds to address repairs,” stated Councilmember Bonds at introduction. Adding, “As the bills for building repairs pile up, a vicious downward spiral occurs where fees that low income residents can’t currently afford must be increased to address repairs that have become even more expensive due to past neglect.”
The grant program established by this bill would also help rehabilitate communities by requiring projects to meet the Green Communities standard, and by incentivizing boards to receive specialized training aimed at improving their capacity to manage their communities effectively.
The legislation was co- introduced by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Robert White, Brianne Nadeau, and Trayon White, and was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Brandon Todd and Vincent C. Gray.