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As part of a dynamic discussion on high growth cities at the Unlocking the Market conference, sponsored by the Urban Institute and Fannie Mae, a panel focused on the unique challenges faced by Washington, D.C. Because the city is geographically and economically interconnected with Northern Virginia and Maryland, affordable housing isn’t just a local issue — it’s a multitude of local-level issues.

One district, two states, many players

“… Each jurisdiction is responsible for itself, but at the same time, we are doing a regional analysis of the impediments to fair housing sponsored through the Council of Governments. The District’s Department of Housing and Community Development is collaborating with other housing departments across jurisdictions to complete the analysis and work on solutions to address impediments,” stated Polly Donaldson, Director of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development.

It takes innovation and collaboration

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Housing Directors Advisory Committee, and housing planning directors are working with the jurisdictions across the region. This partnership will help develop important interventions and innovative solutions to address this complex issue, such as increased public education and community engagement, revised land-use regulations, policy amendments, and well-funded, well-functioning voucher systems.

“We must have a regional approach to housing to actually make sure we’re addressing needs broadly. Then local jurisdictions can bring whatever character and flavor to their own specific challenges,” said Christian Dorsey, Arlington County Board Chair.

It also takes commitment and creativity

The region will require an estimated and staggering increase of 374,000 housing units by 2030 to accommodate the expected population growth. That will take the commitment and creativity of the different governments, private sector stakeholders, think tanks, and community organizations to collectively solve local housing challenges.

Find out what these organizations are doing to solve this unique challenge. Watch the full presentation.