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Legislation to Implement a Homeowner Resource Center in the District

February 16, 2022

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2022
Contact: Amanda Farnan, afarnan@dccouncil.us or (202) 355-8431

Councilmember Christina Henderson Introduces Legislation to Implement a Homeowner Resource Center in the District

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Henderson introduced the Homeowner Resource Center Establishment Act of 2022. This legislation would create a one-stop shop of resources for homeowners and aspiring homeowners in the District on matters such as home valuations, property taxes, property maintenance and improvement, and relevant District laws and regulations. The Center would also offer counsel from a Housing Resource Officer.

“The District’s housing policy choices speak to the priority we place on safe, affordable housing, and the unique value of homeownership for historically excluded communities. We have a lot of programs to support residents in purchasing a home, but very few places they can turn to for questions and counsel when issues arise after closing. This legislation would renew our commitment to homeowners, specifically Black and brown families who have been historically left behind when building wealth through ownership,” said Councilmember Henderson. “The Homeowner Resource Center would support families for their full journey of ownership.”

The District strives to be a national leader in housing policy. However, resources that support owning a home, not just purchasing a home, can be difficult to identify after all the paperwork has been signed. The Homeowner Resource Center would be established within the Department of Housing and Community Development and would specifically provide information on matters such as types of ownership, financing, insurance, and taxes, property maintenance and improvement, health, safety, and environmental considerations, and relevant District laws and regulations. Resources on these topics would be available through a website maintained and led by a Housing Resource Officer, who must have demonstrated professional experience in property law.

While the gap in homeownership between Black and white families in the District is one of the smallest in the major United States housing markets. Black Americans’ exclusion from building wealth via the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act of 1935, the G.I. Bill of 1944, and redlining practices has resulted in a startling wealth gap—the average Black American family has one-eighth the wealth of the average white American family. We must intentionally craft policy to combat this equity issue. Information provided by the Center could mitigate more insidious problems for homeowners, and could begin to address the wealth gap by providing families who are susceptible to loss or depreciation with invaluable information that helps them maintain their investment.

The Homeowner Resource Center Establishment Act of 2022 was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Mary M. Cheh, Robert C. White Jr., and Anita Bonds.

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