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The DC mayoral race heats up over affordable housing and homelessness

DC Council Member David A. Catania (Independent-At Large) and candidate for DC Mayor is taking aim at his opponent, Council Member Muriel Bowser (Democrat-Ward 4) over a topic important to us all – affordable housing.

 

Catania has observed that during Bowser’s tenure as chairperson of the Committee on Economic Development (the committee that covers all housing issues), Bowser has failed to advance a single piece of substantive housing-related legislation that would address any of the challenges facing affordable housing and homelessness in the District.

 

When asked about recent campaign literature on this topic, Catania responded in an article in the Washington City Paper saying, "It's simply to call attention to the obvious: that she's been derelict in her responsibilities to the Council.”

 

On June 12, Bowser will have the opportunity to answer questions about her slim affordable housing record during DCBIA’s Annual Housing Seminar.

 

In the meantime, Catania maintains that his record on the issue is more substantive, more thoughtful, and more progressive than anything Bowser has offered to date. 

 

Catania authored the “Passport to Homeownership Resolution,” urging the Mayor to implement a program to allow families to use their Section 8 rental assistance for mortgage payments. This program allows District residents to purchase their own homes.

 

Catania has pushed for additional housing options for individuals with mental illness and those living with HIV/AIDS. As Chair of the Committee on Health, Catania directed millions of additional dollars to these efforts.

 

Finally, Catania initiated the D.C. HomeStart Initiative in 2000 to examine the District's housing policies and regulations.  He created a task force of housing experts to examine how best to strengthen the city's affordable housing opportunities.  The group ultimately produced legislation the he introduced.  Catania worked with then Mayor Anthony Williams, who also introduced legislation, to combine efforts to produce the most significant affordable housing legislation in a generation. Among other things, the legislation created a dedicated funding source for the recently established Housing Production Trust Fund.

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