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Pages tagged "gentrification"

In the News - Courthouse News: "D.C. developers accused of pushing out poor" 08.26.16

A legal news source, Courthouse News Service describes the current class action lawsuit filed by tenants at Brookland Manor. Both claimants have 4-bedroom apartments, and the redevelopment plan calls for the removal of all 4 and 5 bedroom apartments. There are presently 116 units with four or five bedrooms, which are not common in the District of Columbia. Currently, only 8 percent of DC housing units have 4 bedrooms and only 4 percent have 5 or more bedrooms.

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In the News - Washington Legal Clinic: "Discriminatory development practices and the affordable housing crisis in D.C."

The article details the discrimination lawsuit filed by Covington and Burling, LLP and the Washington Lawyers' Committee. It describes who would likely be affected by Mid-City's redevelopment of Brookland Manor and how those effects violate both the federal Fair Housing Act and the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act. The Brookland Manor/Brentwood Village Residents' Association is working together with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and ONE DC to fight the potential displacement and also the unfair tactics used by the property owner, Mid-City Financial. The struggle at Brookland Manor is connected with the broader fight for affordable housing across the District of Columbia. Redevelopment projects--approved by elected District leaders, zoning officials, and the Office of Planning--seek to create new communities but do so at the expense and displacement of long-term, low-income Washingtonians. Read more at Washington Legal Clinic


In the News - NBC Washington: "DC residents file housing lawsuit against developer"

A brief video segment from NBC, this piece describes how large families are afraid of being displaced. Brookland Manor is home to hundreds of low-income residents, many of whom reside in 3, 4, and 5 bedroom apartments. The new development will not include 4 and 5 bedrooms and is planned to have significantly fewer 3 bedrooms. On the video, interviews with residents and lawyers describe the potential impact on families. Watch the segment here.


In the News - DCist: "Brookland residents sue owner of massive complex over redevelopment plans" 08.25.16

Explaining the details of the discrimination lawsuit and the changes to affordable housing at Brookland Manor, this article highlights the changes in affordable housing and unit size in the proposed redevelopment. While Brookland Manor presently has 209 three or more bedroom apartments, the redevelopment will only have 64 three bedroom apartments and zero four and five bedroom apartments. Data gathered by the Washington Lawyers' Committee's Fair Housing Project indicates that 150 families will be affected and potentially displaced by the reduced unit sizes of the redevelopment. One of the plaintiffs on the discrimination lawsuit explains how the redevelopment will tear apart the long-established sense of community and social cohesion at Brookland Manor. Read the article here.


In the News - Washington City Paper: "Northeast tenants sue owner for alleged discrimination" 08.25.16

This article details the discrimination lawsuit and also points out the gaps in Mid-City's argument that they are providing an "inclusive" where all current residents will be welcomed to remain. The proposals to the Zoning Commission actually remove housing sized for families. Mid-City's current practices documented by the Washington Post include suing tenants for small amounts and beginning the eviction process for minor lease violations. Read the article here.


In the News - Washington Post: "Life at Brookland Manor"

The chairman of Mid-City Financial Corp responds to the Washington Post's investigative reporting, through a letter to an editor. Gene Ford, Jr., claims that the redevelopment is "socially responsible and inclusive." He argues this by listing the number of Section 8 contracts that will remain at Brookland Manor (373). Compared with the bare minimum that developers are required to provide, the number of affordable units are larger than the requirements of a new development. Though Mr. Ford indicates that everyone will be able to return to the redevelopment, he does not address the issue that large families currently in four or five bedroom units will not find similar housing at the redevelopment. Read the letter here.


In the News - Washington Post: "As the nation's capital booms, poor tenants face eviction over as little as $25" 08.08.16

This article is a long, in-depth feature highlighting the difficulties tenants have faced at Brookland Manor. It highlights the experiences of tenants who have been threatened with eviction over small sums - sometimes held back to try to urge management to make repairs in their units. Urban renewal is bringing change to neighborhoods, or gentrification, and developers across the country and in Washington, DC, have financial incentive to redevelop older properties - once affordable - and market them as luxury units to wealthier newcomers. Small debts to property management companies are being used to threaten or clear out existing tenants and make way for the new development. Lawsuits over small debts also create an online, legal background that can be used against tenants in future rental applications. Read the article here.


Turning the Light of Truth: #RentersDayofAction at Congress Heights

On Thursday, September 22nd, ONE DC, Justice First, tenants of Congress Heights, Brookland Manor, Museum Square, and our members and supporters rallied in solidarity with renters in DC and nationwide for the Renters Day of Action. Across the country, in more than 50 cities, renters rose up in powerful demonstrations of the power of everyday people standing up for racial, economic & social justice. Renters are making four major demands:
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In DC, residents living at a Congress Heights property are making another demand. Department of Housing and Community Development must take control of 3200 13th Street SE from the current owners to prevent known slum landlords and developers from gaining site control to move forward with their development plan in which they seek to displace Congress Heights tenants. Affected residents at Congress Heights and the larger neighborhood must be given priority as to determining alternative plans to create the affordable housing originally intended for the site in a manner that is beneficial to and determined by the community. Additionally, DHCD must take action to recuperate the missing $1 million from the owners of 3200, and commit to reinvesting it back into the development of 3200 to create much needed income-based affordable housing on the property as was originally intended.

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Workers with Project Retail also shared their experience with displacement in DC & request support for their petition for fair access to public transportation.

Photo Credit: O. Michael Leslie


Brookland Manor Families & ONE DC File Lawsuit Against Mid-City; Residents Organize Against Displacement, Harassment, & Intimidation

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Brookland Manor resident Cheryl Brunson speaks at the press conference on August 25, 2016


As you have heard, the proposed redevelopment of Brookland Manor will eliminate and reduce family-sized housing for nearly 150 families. This redevelopment will eliminate significant affordable family sized housing in the Brentwood neighborhood and force ONE DC members and residents to move from the community in which they have long resided and which they call home. The exclusion of these families from Brookland Manor destroys their community and will disrupt their children’s education and the networks of services and supports that many residents rely on. Medical doctor Mindy Fullilove calls this health condition “root shock”—a phenomena which tears up primarily Black working class communities. ONE DC’s organizing is designed to resist these conditions, and our legal team supports us in these efforts.

The developers wrote to the tenants that large families must be excluded from the redeveloped property because large families are “not consistent with the creation of a vibrant new community.” They justified the negative impact that the elimination of large units would have on families by telling the Zoning Commission that “housing very large families in apartment complexes is significantly impactful upon the quality of life of households as well as their surrounding neighbors.” These statements reflect a hostility towards families that violates both federal and District of Columbia Fair Housing laws, which prohibit discrimination based on one’s familial status. ONE DC supports our legal team through our organizing to make “the developers obey the law.” If the residents and ONE DC members don’t make the developers obey the Fair Housing laws, they will violate them. We join the families of Brookland Manor who are bringing this lawsuit in demanding that the developer obey the Fair Housing laws!

Our members and our legal team support the choice of Brookland Manor residents to have a large family or a small one, to live with multiple generations or to live alone which is protected by law. Click here to read Dominic Moulden's full remarks from the press conference.

Media Coverage of Brookland Manor

The Mysterious Private Police Force That’s Killing People In The Nation’s Capital Carimah Townes, Think Progress, August 31

DC Residents File Housing Lawsuit Against Developer Mark Segraves, NBC4 Washington, August 26

D.C. Developers Accused of Pushing Out Poor, Britain Eakin, Courthouse News Service, August 26

Brookland Residents Sue Owner Of Massive Complex Over Redevelopment Plans, Rachel Sadon, DCist, August 25

Northeast Tenants Sue Owner for Alleged Discrimination, Andrew Giambrone, Washington City Paper, August 25

As the nation’s capital booms, poor tenants face eviction over as little as $25 Terrence McCoy, Washington Post, August 8


ONE DC Statement on Family Size Discrimination Litigation At Brookland Manor

Borum, et al, v. Brentwood Village, LLC, et al
Family Size Discrimination Litigation Regarding Brookland Manor

By: Dominic T. Moulden, Resource Organizer
Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC

ONE DC is honored to be here today with residents of Brookland Manor, our community legal partners the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and legal counsel at Covington & Burling to announce the filing of litigation to challenge redevelopment plans for Brookland Manor that will discriminate against families.


As you have heard, the proposed redevelopment of Brookland Manor will eliminate and reduce family-sized housing for nearly 150 families. This redevelopment will eliminate significant affordable family sized housing in the Brentwood neighborhood and force ONE DC members and residents to move from the community in which they have long resided and which they call home. The exclusion of these families from Brookland Manor destroys their community and will disrupt their children’s education and the networks of services and supports that many residents rely on. Medical doctor Mindy Fullilove calls this health condition “root shock”—a phenomena which tears up primarily Black working class communities. ONE DC’s organizing is designed to resist these conditions, and our legal team supports us in these efforts.


The developers wrote to the tenants that large families must be excluded from the redeveloped property because large families are “not consistent with the creation of a vibrant new community.” They justified the negative impact that the elimination of large units would have on families by telling the Zoning Commission that “housing very large families in apartment complexes is significantly impactful upon the quality of life of households as well as their surrounding neighbors.” These statements reflect a hostility towards families that violates both federal and District of Columbia Fair Housing laws, which prohibit discrimination based on one’s familial status. ONE DC supports our legal team through our organizing to make “the developers obey the law.” If the residents and ONE DC members don’t make the developers obey the Fair Housing laws, they will violate them. We join the families of Brookland Manor who are bringing this lawsuit in demanding that the developer obey the Fair Housing laws!


Our members and our legal team support the choice of Brookland Manor residents to have a large family or a small one, to live with multiple generations or to live alone which is protected by law.


Many of the residents of Brookland Manor have lived in the neighborhood a long time. Some families have lived there for generations. They have built a community and invested their lives in the neighborhood. They should not be displaced and removed like the families at Valley Green in Southeast, Ellen Wilson on Capitol Hill, and Arthur Cappers in Southwest. Now, when amenities are returning to Brentwood, when the neighborhood is becoming a destination and families with means are moving in, longtime residents are being forced out. The design of the proposed redevelopment will not benefit the families who currently live in Brookland Manor, and instead appears to be for those who are new to DC and the Brentwood neighborhood.


ONE DC recognizes Black low-income DC residents’ right to housing and right to the city. Our People's Platform organizing work speaks to ONE DC's solidarity with working class people and we defend these rights through legal action to protect all DC citizens' right to fair, equitable, and large family housing units at Brookland Manor.


The residents and ONE DC members who filed this suit today and those that are here with us at this press conference bear witness to the possibility of DC being the Human Rights City it claims. ONE DC’s Shared Leadership Team during this 10th Anniversary year is calling DC’s political leaders and human rights organizers to task to join us in humility and solidarity with all of the original 535 families at Brookland Manor who claim their right to live and work in DC. We remain encouraged and envision a victory for all these families who put their lives on the line for a just and equitable DC. We honor all of you today in filing this lawsuit and claim loudly IT IS OUR DUTY TO WIN!