D.C. affordable housing gradually dwindles

D.C. residents have faced increasingly unaffordable housing for years.

City Paper recently compared statistics between seven years of housing cost rates using data from a study published by the Urban Institute. The study found that 17 percent of all rental units cost under $500 (adjusted for 2012 dollars) and only 14.9 percent cost over $1,500. In 2012, however, that cheaper housing made up only 11.3 percent of the rental market and the expensive housing increased to 35.9 percent of the available housing.

In some parts of the city, the cost of living nearly tripled. Homes in the Shaw and Logan Circle areas cost 298 percent more, while homes in the Ivy City, Trinidad, and Carver Langston areas were 258 percent more expensive in 2013 than in 2000, according to the study.

Despite the grim picture, Mayor Vincent Gray projects that the city will likely go over its affordable housing goal of 10,000 units.

City Paper points out, however, that only around 15 percent of the units are intended for the very poor, and the proportion of that housing will increase only to 22 percent by 2020.

With the expected increase in homelessness coming this winter, more must be done to ensure that the term “affordable” doesn’t apply only to the middle class but to anyone who might live in the city.

Photo: The Urban Institute

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