There are many actions the District can take to support affordable housing. I call on the D.C. government to take some very specific steps:
- Increase funding for Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives
- At least double funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund
- Strengthen rent control laws
- Build more public housing
- Finalize the rules for the District Opportunity to Purchase Act, a law the District has on the books that can protect and expand affordable housing
The District's current housing policies are not working for the poor and working people in D.C. We need a grassroots movement to fight back. Justice First believes housing is a right; no one should be denied access to shelter, certainly not in one of the richest cities in the richest country on earth.
So where does Justice First fit?
Justice First recognizes that this is a fight that will take a lot to win. The statistics show that District policies are totally backward. We believe housing is a right; no one should be denied access to shelter, certainly not in one of the richest cities in the richest country on earth.
We can have a big impact:
Tenants facing displacement can lean on Justice First as a resource in the fight to protect their rights. Whether it is preparation to deal with District boards and agencies, building support amongst neighbors and D.C. residents, or holding rallies and press conferences, we are here to help. Our organizers work directly with tenants to empower and support the struggle.
Fighting for Rent Control
Rent control is critical and more advocacy is needed to change decades-old policies. Justice First is engaged in a district-wide campaign to demand that rent control be determined not by a set multi-year formula but instead be based on real annual increases in the cost-of-living and wage realities.
As we fight gentrification and displacement, we also promote and produce materials on alternatives, like Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives to create affordability and ownership, a D.C. Public Bank to leverage District dollars, and District investment in priorities for residents – like housing – as opposed to contributing to the dividend payments of Wall Street banks.
Building long-term empowerment
We recognize that the issues are not only broad but ongoing and ever-changing. As such we are a membership organization that brings together people who believe that housing is one of the basic rights people should have. We are building an infrastructure, and a culture of organizing to confront a myriad of challenges in housing and other areas of the lives of working-class and low-income District residents.