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2019 Priorities for DC Tenants

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) Study labels the city Washington,D.G. - the District of Gentrification The winds of urban change, powered by gentrification and an extraordinary influx of affluence, have reached gale force in the District in recent years. Gentrification, "market-rate" rental housing, and the "condominium conversion craze" are an "unholy trinity" of adversities economically afflicting tenants and the "least of DC's urban brethren" --the poor, the working class, those on fixed-income, African-Americans, Latinos, and students. The top priorities for D.C. Tenants as we approach the half-way point in 2019 are: Rent Control Reform and Expansion - Affordable Housing and Protection of Tenant Rights. In the District, Expanding gentrification has also emerged as a huge threat to affordable housing. Of all metropolitan areas in the U.S., the District has become the most gentrified. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) has published a study containing startling statistics: From 2000 to 2013, D.C. had the highest percentage of gentrifying neighborhoods in the country; In 2000, half of the neighborhoods in D.C. were considered eligible for gentrification; by 2013, 41% of those neighborhoods were gentrified; D.C. was one of four cities that had the highest percentage of Black Displacement as a result of gentrification; and from 2000 to 2013, an estimated 20,000 Black residents were displaced from their neighborhoods by gentrification. See, Another tenant priority is to defeat Donald Trump,whose shutdown of the Federal government seriously affected many Federal employees, who are District tenants. Following in the footsteps of his corrupt father who discriminated big time against African-American tenants. Trump cares nothing about tenant hardships. His gross malfeasance in office includes abuse of women, bigotry against Blacks and Hispanics, support for White supremacy, and pathological lying. He was less "elected" than "selected" by Kremlin intrusion, Republican voter suppression, a flood-tide of illicit money and shoe-horned into office by the lunacy of the "Electoral Kindergarten." A global-warming denier as well, he may wake up when he has to play golf in his bathing suit, as a tidal surge floods Mar-a-Lago's golf course, and the only hole not under water is the See our YouTube, "Ol Man Mueller" The basic mechanism for D.C. rent stability, of course, is rent control. It is also the ultimate solution to the city's affordable housing crisis. Regrettably it continues to erode in coverage and effectiveness. Its vital expansion is stymied by exclusion of apartment buildings built after 1976, continuous removal of rental buildings by condominium conversion and the exemption of all new apartment buildings. DC leaders pay lip service to affordable housing, but in DC there is none. It reminds one of a refrain in the Bible on peace - the cry for peace is everywhere, but there is no peace. Even the modest proposal to eliminate the 2% add-on rent-increase giveaway to landlords continues to be ignored. Instead, "market rate" rents are accepted as permanent rent policy by housing authorities and political leaders, even though the "market" has become a casino, and the landlords are breaking the Bank at Monte Carlo. DC housing policy linked to the exploding affluence in our midst has transformed the District into one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., equating us with Palm Springs, South Hampton, Boca Raton, and Maratha's Vineyard. Many now would cheerfully convert all of D.C. into an "instant Georgetown." That kind of myopia conveniently forgets the basic premise that housing is not a commodity. We are not talking about oil futures, gold boulion, or pork bellies, we are talking about the roof over people's heads, the basic unit necessary for survival and progress in America's urban environment. Large sections of DC have been "jazzed up" with parks, renovations, "streetscapes" featuring ornamental lampposts, sidewalk flower-beds and other elaborate plantings, and scores of other amenities to generate urban "eye appeal." Affluent home buyers or renters, investors and a cross-section of other "fat cats" with more than enough money to buy, even outbid one another in the new, high-priced luxury market.   Worse still, is the luxury "makeover" of certain classic rental buildings, and their conversion into "high-end" apartments or home sites, which only the truly affluent can afford. In the process, many prior residents are displaced, many of whom have lived there for generations. Gentrification is not meant to prettify neighborhoods; it is to make them for sale to the highest bidders. The endgame of this caravan of ostentatious wealth is a "welcome" sign out for the rich and an "exit sign for the poor. Many of the latter, moreover, do not survive the eviction process in Landlord-Tenant Court. There, 95% of those facing eviction before a judge, who alone can order an eviction, are without counsel, while landlords are represented by blue-chip D.C. law firms. Two more years of Trump foreshadows grave decline of the tenants' movement in DC. TENAC demonstrates regularly against Trump both at The White House and at his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. You are invited to join us! Just email us at, or call our TENAC Hotline, at (202) 288-1921. LONG LIVE DC TENANTS' RIGHTS! Jim McGrath TENAC Chairman Emeritus D.C. TENANTS' ADVOCACY COALITION


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