Stop Displacement! Repair Public Housing and End Homelessness!
Recently, #DontMuteDC became a rallying cry for current and former DC residents who were outraged at an attempt to silence the sounds of go-go at the corner of Florida and Georgia Ave NW. A petition to pressure T-mobile to keep the music playing got over 80,000 signatures in a short period of time. Their advocacy worked. Now we ask our elected officials to do more to stop cultural and economic displacement.
Between 2000 and 2013, DC had the most intense gentrification in the country and the highest rate of displacement of low-income, Black residents-- over 20,000 Black residents, many of them native Washingtonians, were displaced in that time period. With the people goes the culture, and DC's identity as Chocolate City. Because the District government has, through both action and inaction, caused this displacement, it has a responsibility to fix it.
We do not believe that Mayor Muriel Bowser's budget proposal or the latest version as amended by the DC Council does anywhere near enough to undo displacement or further racial or economic equity. The investments fail to provide DC residents with what they need to remain and thrive in DC. Here a few examples of the disparities:
- The budget devotes $20 million to a "workforce housing" fund for households making up to $140,000 for a family of four, but does not include one dime to repair any of the more than 2500 public housing units that are at risk of becoming uninhabitable without a significant investment.
- Events DC underspent its budget by $63.5 million last year and has $206 million sitting in the bank, yet 54 DC residents died homeless last year and the budget doesn't have anywhere near enough money to end chronic homelessness.
- DC runs a tech company tax incentive entitlement program that costs $40 million a year, has no data to show that it works, and contains no time limits, no residency requirements, and no real screening for eligibility. Meanwhile there is not one dime devoted to housing vouchers that pull families from the 40,000 DC Housing Authority waiting list, and very few dollars devoted to long-term vouchers for homeless families. Instead almost every homeless family goes into the Rapid Re-housing program, which is time-limited and leaves many of its participants unable to afford housing in DC at the end of the assistance.
On May 14, 2019, the DC Council will take its first vote on the budget. Join us before then to tell the DC Council that they must #FindTheMoney to #PutPeopleFirst. Send this email to the whole Council, come to the People's Budget Action to End Homelessness on May 8, and make sure you call and Tweet at your Councilmembers as well.