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Meet the People's Platform Demands to Prevent Displacement & Protect Affordable Housing

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1. We demand a meeting with Councilmember Muriel Bowser to discuss legislation that will protect residents from Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments from displacement.

Why is the People’s Platform Alliance demanding a meeting with Bowser?

Residents of Mount Vernon Plaza Apartments are experiencing the harsh reality of what happens when landlords are no longer required to keep units at an affordable rate. After living in their homes for close to twenty years, 63 families received a two-month notice from the owner telling them they had to either pay $600+ a month more or move out.

Since July of this year, residents of Mount Vernon Plaza have been requesting Councilmember Bowser to step in to stop Bush Companies from unreasonably increasing rents and subsequently forcing the residents out. Next week many residents will in fact be homeless.

2. We demand Councilmember Bowser introduces legislation that places a moratorium on rents being raised on tenants as a result of federal or local affordability covenants expiring.

What is the legislation that will protect residents from displacement once affordability restrictions on low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds expire?

Forty-five buildings financed through low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds have affordability restrictions set to expire in the next five years. Losing these affordable units will further exacerbate the housing crisis in the District.

We want legislation to include the following points:

-Mandate that all housing providers provide notice of any and all potentially expiring subsidies exactly two years in advance of said expiration dates and every three months thereafter to all tenants

-Ensure the initial notice of the expiration of subsidy shall give tenants the opportunity to purchase the building at a price and terms which represent a bona fide offer of sale

3. We demand a public hearing to discuss low-cost housing in the District specifically the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) and strengthening rent control with the elimination of hardship petitions.

Why is the People’s Platform demanding a public hearing to discuss low-cost housing?

On October 14th, Councilmember Bowser held a public hearing to discuss multiple housing bills. Unfortunately, each witness had a total of three minutes to discuss six bills, which in insufficient time to discuss the complexity of housing in the District. Furthermore, the witness list was closed a week early, undermining the very intent of public hearings.  The People’s Platform Alliance demands a public hearing on the following housing issues:

-Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act: The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) is a law that allows residents the option to purchase their building if the owner decides to sell. Right now, the city does not allocate nearly enough money to enable tenants’ to exercise their right to collectively own their building as a limited equity housing cooperative. This is one of the most effective ways for creating permanent, truly low-cost housing.

On September 23rd, Mayor Vincent Gray introduced legislation that expands the tenant opportunity to purchase to residents currently living in project-based Section 8.

-Hardship Petitions: Hardships are used by developers to eliminate rent control in DC. Developers can file these petitions to raise rents high enough to drive current tenants out of their buildings. Increases routinely double tenants’ rents and force them out of their buildings. DC law entitles landlords to these increases to guarantee that their profits remain high while people are driven from their homes. Hardship Petitions should be ended immediately.

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