The DC Bar Foundation’s commitment to housing goes beyond our eviction defense program. We also invest in community redevelopment legal assistance, which supports residents in existing buildings where rents are increasing. When previously affordable housing becomes more expensive, it can drive low-income tenants out of their homes. In 2015, the DC Bar Foundation awarded three grants to address community redevelopment. Three more grants were added in 2016, and received additional funds awarded in 2017. The work continues today.
Recently, one of our grantees shared their story of working with a residents’ council for a proposed redevelopment of a complex that had been designated as affordable housing. The proposed redevelopment did not include a right to return for the complex’s displaced residents. It also featured fewer four- and five-bedroom units, and no six-bedroom units, in the new design. Community lawyers worked with the residents to make their case against the proposed plan, and ultimately the Zoning Commission requested that the developer submit a revised plan to address these concerns.
In a city that has, according to a study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the highest ‘intensity’ of gentrification of any U.S. city with more than 20,000 African American residents displaced from 2000 through 2013, community redevelopment legal assistance is essential for keeping longtime District residents in their homes. Your support allows us to continue this vital work. To learn more about how your generosity makes an impact for our most vulnerable District neighbors, visit our website.