Pages tagged "in the news"
The Right to Stay Put
By Dominic Moulden, Gregory D. Squires, and Aristotle Theresa
When anything goes wrong in a city, policymakers all too often want to move Black people around, asserted Mindy Fullilove, a clinical psychiatrist at the New School, to an audience at a 2015 conference on equitable development in Washington, D.C.
This has certainly been the formula in the District, going back at least to the redevelopment (what we would today call gentrification and serial displacement) of the Georgetown neighborhood in the 1940s, Foggy Bottom in the 1950s, several Capitol Hill and other Northwest D.C. neighborhoods in the 1970s and 1980s, and today in areas ranging from Shaw to H Street NE and even Anacostia. The proposed conversion of Barry Farm to a mixed-income development, resulting in a loss of 400 affordable housing units despite protests from many residents, is just the latest in a long line of initiatives presumably aimed at revitalizing distressed neighborhoods.
But as Chester Hartman, a prominent urban planner and the first executive director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, has often asserted, families have the right to stay put. They have the right to remain in the neighborhoods where their families have resided for decades, if not generations, with access to good schools, safe streets, healthy food, and other public services and private amenities that newcomers to these communities anticipate.
This does not deny the realities of racial segregation, poverty, and uneven development that have long plagued neighborhoods in the District and every other major city in the United States. The costs are real. Residents of lower-income communities, and particularly those with high concentrations of nonwhite populations, have shorter life expectancies and reduced access to good schools; they also are exposed to higher crime rates. This is not by accident. In a 2012 national housing discrimination study, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute found that white families were told about and shown more homes than African Americans or Latinos, increasing the home search cost for minorities. Steering and exclusionary zoning laws continue to segregate neighborhoods by race and class.
There is new wine in these old bottles. Alleged discrimination on the part of Airbnb, Facebook and other social media—with some homeseekers losing out because of stereotyped ethnic associations with their names and the sound of their voices—has been added to the panoply of traditional discriminatory housing practices.
In the News - Washington Business Journal: "Mid-City Financial advances plans for controversial Northeast D.C. redevelopment" 09.27.16
A business-sector news piece, this article presents Mid-City Financial's redevelopment plan to create RIA, following the demolition of Brookland Manor and the Brentwood Village Shopping Center. The company submitted documents to further their plans despite a pending discrimination lawsuit against the redevelopment. The planned number of units are 1700, with 181,000 square feet of retail. The proposal eliminates most family-sized apartments, which has prompted the discrimination against family size lawsuit. Read the article at Washington Business Journal
In the News - The Hilltop: "Brookland Manor v. Gentrification" 09.23.16
This article from the Howard University student newspaper includes an interview with one of the plaintiffs, a tenant at Brookland Manor. Adriann Borum describes her positive past experiences with community life at Brookland Manor and the negative impact that redevelopment plans have had on tenant quality of life. Communal outdoor grills have been removed, playing on a basketball court has been prohibited, and restrictions on outdoor activities have been implemented. Borum describes how it makes tenants - Black families specifically - feel like they are a problem in their own community. The redevelopment will impact Borum's family history at Brookland Manor (3 generations reside there) and will negatively affect the many multigenerational families that make Brookland Manor their home. Read the article at The Hilltop online
In the News - Washington Post: "In gentrifying D.C., large apartments for families are quickly disappearing" 09.29.16
This article highlights the stories of individual Brookland Manor tenants as it details the potential impact of the redevelopment on the District's families. The developer has testified to the Zoning Commission that four- and five-bedroom apartments “are not consistent with the creation of a vibrant new community” and seeks to eliminate all four- and five-bedroom apartments. Mid-City Financial claims that large families can move to smaller units or be split up into several units. Advocates argue that families will instead be moved into poorer areas, substandard housing, be displaced from DC all together, or encounter homelessness. The developer argues that Mid-City Financial is supportive of affordable housing, but tenants and advocates see Mid-City following a city-wide pattern of displacement of low-income, large families in favor of wealthier tenants with smaller or no families. Read the article at The Washington Post
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.Read more
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.