Pages tagged "COVID-19"
People's Demands DC
People's Demands DC, a group that came together through the DC Mutual Aid Network, are developing a list of demands with the help of community members, students of all ages, organizers, advocates and activists. We want to make sure that our finalized list of demands has been shared with and supported by as many DC folks as possible, particularly Black, brown, immigrant, low-income, indigenous and native Washingtonian residents.
Join ONE DC Outreach Team
ONE DC members are continuing to make calls to our base to understand how people are being impacted by the pandemic, offer support and resources, and engage people in our ongoing organizing work. Can you help by making calls?
- You can email [email protected] to receive a list and script to make calls on your own time.
- Or you can make calls with the virtual support of others! Join us on Thursday at 6:30 PM for a special outreach orientation and work session. Email Gabrielle at [email protected] to receive video call info.
Know Your Rights
After Mayor Bowser declared a state of emergency, the D.C. Council passed several emergency laws:
- No evictions and no hearings until (at least) May 15, 2020. Landlord-Tenant Court is closed for eviction proceedings until (at least) May 15.
- Landlords can still file some eviction cases and send you notices, but the court process are all on hold.
- If your building is a tax-credit or federally-funded property, no eviction notices can be served until July 25, 2020 according to the federal CARES Act. Your landlord cannot charge late fees or other penalties during this time either.
- Late fees are prohibited for rent owed during the state of emergency. They can still charge rent.
- No rental increases are allowed that would have gone into effect during March, April, or any further month during which there is a state of emergency. Any rental increases for March or April are retroactively canceled. Rent, however, is not canceled (yet).
- Any notice a tenant has given a landlord saying that they are going to vacate the apartment is paused from the date of the start of the public emergency (March 11). Tenants do not have to vacate during the public emergency even if they had previously notified their landlord that they were doing so.
- Utility shut-offs are prohibited during the state of emergency. This includes water, electricity, and gas.
- As always, the landlord has no right to ask about your health.
- If you need someone to stay with you because you’re sick, that’s allowed. Your best protection is to give the landlord notice in writing that because of your health limitations, you need that person’s help.
If you need to speak with a lawyer about a housing issue related to the coronavirus, you can call the Legal Aid COVID-19 Tenant Hotline, call 202-851-3388
If your landlord is trying to exploit this public health crisis to raise rent, please contact the Office of the Attorney General’s special price-gouging unit. Call (855) 532-5465 or submit a complaint online
Washington, D.C. is facing an unprecedented economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer has estimated that unemployment could reach 20%, bringing incalculable harm to D.C. residents. Just last week, a full 1% of the country applied for unemployment benefits.
While the emergency measures that have been passed so far are essential for containing the immediate impact of the pandemic, and we're grateful to the Council for heeding our call to close D.C. Superior Court to all eviction proceedings through May 15, job losses and other lasting effects will linger for many years. These economic effects are turning out to be even worse than anticipated, and it is clear that the city needs to step up with a more ambitious effort to protect residents.
Cancellation of rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the state of emergency, plus one month. No one knows how long this pandemic will last. It is no good to impose a moratorium on evictions alone, only to force tenants out when the eviction moratorium expires. With so many Washingtonians already out of work, we need to cancel rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the state of emergency, and allow a one-month cushion.
A two-year rent freeze on increases while the city recovers. We cannot allow the crisis to become the death knell of working-class life in Washington, D.C. Landlords should not make back their losses on the backs of struggling renters, and should not raise rents while tenants struggle to get back on their feet.
The right to counsel in eviction cases. The crisis is likely to cause a wave of evictions throughout the city; we must help tenants defend themselves in court by fully funding legal services and making an attorney available to any tenant who wants one.
Tripled funding and vastly expanded eligibility for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the elimination of annual limits on frequency and amount. ERAP’s small budget, high barriers to entry, and annual limit severely limit its ability to help a broad cross-section of DC residents. Expanding the program will help make it a pillar of D.C.’s response to the crisis. Residents who have claimed ERAP earlier within the last year should remain eligible for ERAP prospectively in light of the current crisis.
- The enactment into law of the Reclaim Rent Control platform in its entirety. The previous demands are all temporary, emergency fixes to a city that is already wracked by a housing crisis. One of the keys to a long-term solution to Washington, D.C.’s housing crisis is a broad-based rent control law.
We are entering an economic emergency that will rival the Great Depression. Now is not the time for half-measures. Now is the time to protect our tenants and save our city. Tell Mayor Bowser and D.C. City Council we need action now!
Are you not going to be able to pay rent on April or May 1? Have you lost wages due to COVID-19? How have you been affected the pandemic? Fill out the survey here to join ONE DC organizing efforts.
Staring Monday, March 16, the ONE DC office (614 S St NW) will be closed and staff will work remotely.
All scheduled ONE DC meetings and events will be either cancelled or held remotely. Organizers and member-leaders will follow up with more information about the status of specific campaign and committee meetings.
Stay tuned for more info later this week about how ONE DC members can stay engaged, even as we practice social distancing by staying in our homes as much as possible.
We hope you, your families, and communities are staying well. We know this pandemic comes at a difficult time when our communities are already facing a crisis of housing displacement, unemployment and underemployment, and lack of access to healthcare due to a system of racial capitalism that values profit over meeting the needs of people. To support our ONE DC community during this time, we wanted to share the following:
- DC Government updates at coronavirus.dc.gov
- DC Health Link special COVID-19 site
- DC Public Schools info
- DC Attorney General: Know Your Rights
Throughout DC, people are organizing to help their neighbors through mutual aid. Mutual aid is a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions, not just through charity or symbolic acts or putting pressure on their representatives in government. Instead, this is about actually building new social relations that are more survivable.
You can find out more about ongoing opportunities and sources for mutual aid at the DC Mutual Aid Network.
If you are able to contribute time, energy, skills, or labor, you can fill out the forms below, which will connect you to groups organizing mutual aid throughout the city. You can also use the forms to ask for help, if you need help cleaning, running errands, dealing with prescriptions. Most of us will end up needing to ask for help during this crisis.
- Ward 1
- Ward 7 and 8: Call the hotline - 202-630-0336 - for those needing support or looking to volunteer.
- Takoma/Ward 4
- Ward 6
More info can be found at the DC Mutual Aid Network.
Take Action to Protect Tenants!
Landlord-Tenant Court is CLOSED through 5/1. All evictions scheduled for May 1 or earlier are stayed. There will be no hearings between now and May 1, all currently scheduled hearings will be rescheduled
Now is the time to demand an immediate rent freeze, so that landlords can't take advantage of a crisis to line their pockets.
Now is the time to demand that tenants are included in any emergency financial assistance.
Precarious tenants will be among the hardest hit by the crisis: workplaces closed, hours cut, jobs lost, tips gone, hospital bills piling up.
Pick up the phone and call the Mayor and your Councilmember to demand a rent freeze NOW! Click here for a script and numbers
Please let us know if you have any questions. The best way to reach ONE DC at this time is by emailing [email protected] or you can call and leave a message or text us at 202.760.4875.