The Model

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.

How The Model is Structured

​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.

Washington Housing Initiative

Washington Housing Conservancy

Acquires, owns and operates real estate
Ensures adherence with affordability covenants
Assesses community needs and builds partnerships with service providers

Impact Pool

Provides second-trust debt financing
Coordinates placement of qualified 501(c)(3) bonds
Measures & report impact outcomes
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Stakeholder Council

Engages civic and community leaders in Housing Initiative and provide strategic direction
Fosters public/private partnerships and collaboration
Develops and advocates for policy objectives

About the Washington Housing Conservancy

The Washington Housing Conservancy is a non-profit that acquires and owns real estate, and is intended to accomplish the following:

Preserve affordability, prevent displacement and share economic prosperity by acquiring or developing more than 3,000 units of affordable workforce housing in High-Impact locations
Assess community needs and partner with best-in-class providers to deliver neighborhood services
Leverage private capital to deliver sustainable, large-scale impact without ongoing subsidies
Sponsor the private activity bonds that may be used for both the senior and junior mortgage financing
Support for the Washington Housing Conservancy

The Conservancy seeks to raise funds in the form of donations and Program Related Investments, as well as land for new development projects.

Funding Sources

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.

Long-Term Sustainability

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.

Donations with Impact

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.

A New Affordable Housing Policy Paradigm?

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.

Our Six Principles

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.