On June 18, the Washington, D.C., Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD) held a public hearing on its draft 2019 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The hearing allowed city residents, local builders and developers, and other local stakeholders to provide input and recommendations for DCHD’s current draft QAP.
U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, develop QAPs to establish requirements and criteria for projects to qualify to receive credits allotted through the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. QAPs are periodically updated to ensure that the projects reflect the housing needs in a designated area.
DCHD has been a leader in advancing green building. The draft plan and previous approved plans require projects to achieve certification under green building standards such as LEED. While this is a noteworthy, USGBC believes that DCHD needs to take additional steps to meet the aggressive steps outlined by the city to expand energy-efficient buildings and renewable energy deployment.
In addition, DCHD has proposed a reduction in available financial incentives for developers to achieve net zero energy or highly efficient third-party certified buildings. Reducing the number of available points awarded to projects earning high levels of green building certification from five to three might make the goal of a sustainable and livable city more challenging to achieve.
USGBC attended the public hearing to advocate for the city’s continued support of sustainable and resilient affordable housing for its residents. Bryan Howard, USGBC legislative director, gave testimony emphasizing how, although LEED is already established and has made a positive impact on local affordable housing residents, there is more work to be done to improve the quality of housing in the District.
USGBC encourages DCHD to allocate more incentive points to green building in its final 2019 QAP, to be released at the end of June.
Since the District is one of the most committed allies of sustainability and LEED, the same dedication should be reflected in its final 2019 QAP. By offering more points to high tiers of green building criteria, DCHD can provide affordable, healthy and resilient homes to the people of D.C.