The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Washington, D.C.:
Home Buyers in Trouble

Jan 1, 2024

The Washington, D.C. city government has a program to help poorer people buy a house. But the program is quite limited, while the need is huge.

The Home Purchase Assistance Program pays up to $202,000 toward the price of a home. Very low income people don’t have to pay it back. Others pay it back interest-free over 40 years after a five-year grace period.

The program helps around 500 people a year. On average this is around 10% of home buyers. In other words, apart from these 500 or so people every year, thousands of others don’t get this help. But home prices are crazy. The average home price in D.C. is getting close to $700,000! And now mortgage interest rates are crazy, too.

The city changed the rules so that the program only pays for 30% of the home price. For many poorer people hoping to get a nicer house, this change dashed their dreams of getting the home they wanted.

Everyone deserves a decent place to live. But no government program can solve the never-ending problem that housing is unaffordable for all too many working people under capitalism.