The Washington Housing Conservancy is a non-profit that acquires and owns real estate, and is part of the larger Washington Housing Initiative. The Initiative is a triple bottom line impact initiative that will preserve and develop affordable housing at scale across our region. It will aim to create a model for systemic change through its three primary vehicles: the Washington Housing Conservancy, the Impact Pool, a private investment vehicle, and a Stakeholder Council.
The Washington Housing Initiative is a transformational market-based approach to creating and preserving affordable workforce housing in High-Impact Locations throughout the Washington, DC region.
The Washington Housing Conservancy is a non-profit that acquires and owns real estate, and is intended to accomplish the following:
The Conservancy seeks to raise funds in the form of donations and Program Related Investments, as well as land for new development projects.
In addition, the Conservancy intends to establish a first mortgage financing facility through a lender such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that it can quickly and efficiently acquire properties.
As the owner of the real estate, as well as the recipient of any investment earning in excess of the Pool’s maximum total return, the Conservancy is expected to be self-sustaining entity within five years.
Over 40 years, each dollar contributed to the Conservancy generates between $20 and $40 of impact that the Conservancy can use for rent subsidies, funding for neighborhood services, and acquiring additional buildings. The Conservancy will be positioned to leverage $30 million in initial contributions into rent subsidies, funding for neighborhood services, and acquiring additional buildings.
Through the Washington Housing Conservancy’s unique model, $9 of private capital can be leveraged for every $1 of philanthropic capital. In addition, services and rent subsidies are funded from property income without the need for additional donations. As the chart indicates, if market rent growth accelerates, the impact per dollar grows substantially.
Affordable housing policy is about more than putting roofs over heads.
Its ultimate aim is to open doors to opportunity for all. At the most fundamental level, the mission of the Washington Housing Initiative is to help create economically integrated neighborhoods that offer opportunity for all residents.
The reality is that adding new units in the wrong places does little to improve lives, while developing new units in the right places is just one of many possible tools for building communities in which everyone can thrive.
The impetus for the Washington Housing Initiative arises from a collection of insights, gleaned from decades of experience in real estate development and an extensive survey of research, about how to build communities that work for everybody.
These insights can be distilled into six principles that will guide our work.
Economic integration is the key to neighborhood development.
Workforce and affordable housing should be concentrated in high impact neighborhoods.
Timeliness and cost-effectiveness are critical to delivering affordable and workforce housing in a meaningful way.
Public funding for workforce and affordable housing should draw from as broad a revenue base as possible.
The unique service needs of low- and middle-income residents must be addressed as part of any comprehensive housing plan.
Philanthropic capital, community organizations, impact investors, and private developers bring distinctive resources and capabilities that can be mobilized to deliver housing more efficiently and effectively.