Advocates from across Washington once again converged on the John A. Wilson building Tuesday Nov.18th in hopes of securing three bills before the city council.
The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)’s Housing for All campaign held a rally to put pressure on the council to commit to adding a baseline of one hundred million dollars to the Housing Production Trust Fund. The campaign claims this would help end chronic homelessness, support first-time homeownership, preserve affordable apartments and build new affordable homes.
The fund was established in the ‘80s to supply loans and grants for affordable housing developers via tax revenue. The goal of course being to prevent Washingtonians from being pushed out by the increasing costs of housing in many neighborhoods. Each year the city budget seems to close with a surplus, yet each winter we find ourselves scrambling to house families in motels because there is not enough affordable housing, or even enough emergency beds.
Local advocate Eric Sheptock praised the crowd for their continued efforts to fund affordable housing in Washington D.C.
“They’ll actually reward you for giving them headaches,” Sheptock said. “I urge you all to join me in giving those headaches, if and when they don’t give us affordable housing.”
Other advocates spoke to the crowd, and mayor-elect Muriel Bowser even made an appearance.
“It’s so important that you show up and that you have a message and a strategy. That will help us get to what we all want,” Bowser said. “I will be working with you fighting for all of you – the people who do the right thing to be able to live in the city—that’s what i’m going to spend the next four years on.”
The Council approved the one hundred million dollars for the Housing Production Trust Fund. This bill marks a first step in the council’s dedication to support low-income citizens in the District.
In addition the Dignity for Homeless Families Act was also passed, which will place homeless families into apartment style housing as opposed to larger shelters.
It is the hope of all that housing will become more of a right than a privilege here in the nation’s capital.