Monday, July 11, 2011

Before and after housing tour to highlight struggles with affordable housing

Sounds interesting:

Tenant Advocates Host “Before and After Tour” of Affordable Housing Struggles in NW Neighborhoods

Reality Tour to Show Results of Gentrification and Community Organizing in Columbia Heights and Petworth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, July 11th, residents of Columbia Heights and Petworth will open their homes to share stories of their struggles to preserve affordable housing in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. Washington, D.C. is the only city in the country with a unique law (the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, TOPA) that gives tenants the right to determine what happens to their apartment building when it is for sale. The Before and After Neighborhood Tour will visit four multi-family buildings (two where residents utilized TOPA to buy their buildings and convert them into affordable cooperatives, and two apartment buildings where tenants are trying to purchase) to meet with residents and hear their unique stories. DC’s tenant purchase program is one of the major focuses of this year’s Fourth Annual Citywide Tenant Town Hall, on Saturday, July 16th at 2:30 pm at First Trinity Lutheran Church (309 E St NW, near Judiciary Square).

WHAT: Before and After Neighborhood Tour of Columbia Heights and Petworth

Before: Hear from tenants in run-down apartment buildings that are for sale, who are organizing to prevent their displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods.

After: See newly renovated, affordable housing co-ops where long term neighborhood residents are now owners!

WHERE: 1st stop: 710 Jefferson St NW
2nd stop: Brightwood Gardens Cooperative – 941 Longfellow St NW
3rd stop: 1333 Euclid St NW
4th stop: Quest Cooperative – 1460 Euclid St NW

WHEN: Monday, July 11th, 5 to 7 PM
Meet at 710 Jefferson St NW at 5 pm; we’ll walk to 941 Longfellow St NW (2 blocks), then drive to 1333 Euclid St NW (or meet there at 6 PM), then walk to 1460 Euclid St NW (1 block).

WHO: Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), Save Our Safety Net, 710 Jefferson St NW Tenants’ Association, Brightwood Gardens Cooperative Association, 1333 Euclid St NW Tenants’ Association, Quest Cooperative Association.


  1. The Pony Express was replaced with the car; the candle with the light bulb; the Clergy's control of knowledge with the printing press. It's the way things work,its called progress. What happened to the Native Americans that once lived on Columbia Heights soil?

    The area is gentrifing, either go with the flow or move where you can afford to live.

  2. I agree with Anonymous above; the premise of these sorts of tours, or the gentrification debate in DC generally, is absurd: That tenants have some right to affordable housing in a particular neighborhood by dint of being their for a while. No, they don't. I don't understand why this is so hard to accept in DC; gentrification has occurred in New York without these same level histrionics and falsely premised arguments.

    In fact, the whole idea of affordable housing in areas that by an large are not affordable, whether on a DC-wide or nationwide standard, is a government distortion that causes more harm then good. It dramatically increases rent for market-paying tenants, by decreasing the supply of market housing. It lets whoever administers the affordable housing scheme play favorites by whatever rules it wants to institute, because, by definition, if you offer housing for less than the prevailing market rate, supply will outpace demand and winners will have to be picked.

    Market rate renters in DC are not only pay for this affordable housing with their tax dollars, but also with the increased costs of the market rate of rent. Affordable housing is a noble goal. Affordable housing in neighborhoods with some of the most expensive urban real estate in the country (which Columbia Heights is fast becoming, it's got to be at least in the top 10% on a nationwide standard) is a luxury that we, as a society, cannot afford now.

    It is unfortunate that some communities are disrupted by changing urban dynamics. It is a bad idea to try to do anything about it.

  3. Disagree with the comments. Tenants DO have a right to affordable housing in a particular area. It's in DC law, federal law, and universal human rights law.

    Not having enough dough to keep up with a gentrifying area is not and should not be a valid reason to displace current residents.

    Manhattan's gentrification did not and is not happening without a fight. Many organizations and persons are fighting back and many others have complained about the sterilization of Manhattan.

    The arguments in here to the contrary are simply rationalizations for elitist viewpoints and privileged attitudes.

  4. I agree with the first two comments. To use me as an example, I can't afford it and am not entitled to live in Bethesda or Potomac just because I prefer to. The ebb and flow of neighborhoods in vibrant cities over time is only natural, and the goal of urban planning should not be to allow cities to stagnate, and exist only as they always were. bring on the gentrification!

  5. So good neighborhoods are only for those who can afford it and those without the dough have to live in the ghetto, because, well, they're just not entitled to it. Separate the poor from the rich, allow the rich to have all the services, and who gives a crap about the poor, that's just gentrification working naturally! Crappy crappy crappy. Separate but equal is inherently unequal.

  6. so if you live in poor neighborhood then clean it up. use the trashcan. encourage your "ghetto" neighbors fix stuff on their houses to not throw crap on the ground.
    stop race baiting. this is simple economics.

  7. People do have a right to live in any neighborhood they choose - by purchasing the property they want to live in, like many of the homeowners in the CH area did. These homeowners have done very well for themselves & their families...& guess what, they are not complaining about the direction the neighborhood has taken. There are still programs out there to help folks purchase homes, for those that are willling to make the commitment. Here's the flipside of gentrification - lower crime, cleaner neighborhoods, higher city revenues, better schools, more shopping options (which lead to more savings for residents), new parks, etc. - which all lead to a safer neighborhood. Here is how I sum up the gentrification argument - it's like ignoring the benefits provided by ambulance services & solely focusing on the fossil fuels that are being burned. The phrase 'beggars can't be choosers' seems to apply to the poster's argument about tenants laws & rights. Folks should be given assistance, but they should not be able to dictate the conditions.


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