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Public Housing: The Way Forward

Last year, the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) released an alarming report that nearly one-third of the city’s public housing stock was “nearly uninhabitable.” Since then, we’ve been hard at work with other advocates in the city to figure out what to do next. 

This spring, we won an important battle, when the City Council allocated $30 million for public housing repairs. While that’s an important victory, we knew we still had a long way to go in our fight for affordable housing and the preservation of our public housing stock. 

DCHA recently released a 20-year transformation plan, which we submitted comments for. The good news about the plan: DCHA is using money appropriated by the City Council to repair or renovate 503 units in Judiciary House, Langston Additions, LeDroit Apartments, and Kelly Miller Townhomes. These much-needed repairs take them off the table for potential demolition. 

Along with the Washington Legal Clinic,  Empower DC, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, we submitted our comments and recommendations on DCHA’s Transformation Plan.

To put it simply, we’ve got concerns. 

We raised issues with DCHA’s plan to relocate more than 2,500 families through the voucher process while taking on a host of unregulated private partnerships. We want to ensure that any families moved from public housing are moved into comparable units without issue and can return to their previous neighborhoods after redevelopment. 

We also recommend that DCHA:

  • Provide reparations to residents harmed by decades of neglect and divestment of public housing. 
  • Commit to providing units that keep families from paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent. 
  • Ensure that any units that are demolished are replaced with units at the same size during redevelopment. 

In the past, we’ve seen public housing demolition contribute to the displacement of the city’s Black residents living on low-income. We will not allow this to happen again. And we need your help to make it happen. 

You can take action right now in three important ways:

  1. Sign this petition telling DCHA to preserve and protect public housing in our city
  2. Attend our teach-in next Tuesday, October 8th and learn more about what’s happening in public housing (bring a friend, and let us know you’re coming!)

 Subscribe to our organizing updates, follow us on Twitter and stay tuned to the BFC blog for other ways to get involved!

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