DCHA Internal Auditor Resigned After Reporting Intimidation and Retaliation — “At this point, I don’t have confidence that the Board of Commissioners or other senior executives will exercise integrity in the performance of their public duties.”
DCHA Audit Finds $1.3 Million In Wasted Funds — The D.C. Housing Authority did not disclose the audit in its responses to the Council’s annual oversight questions.
DCHA Executive Director Accuses Former Deputy of Planning a Coup — In a deposition, DCHA Director Tyrone Garrett says he fired his deputy because she plotted to overthrow him. Chelsea Andrews, the former deputy who is now suing DCHA, says that’s ridiculous.
Against Advice of Attorneys and Internal Auditors, DCHA Kept Families in Units With Lead Past Legal Deadline — DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett says he was out of options.
Greenleaf Gardens Redevelopment Stalls Early With Failed Resolution — It’s another delay for Director Tyrone Garrett’s revitalization plan.
CM Silverman Questions Housing Authority Commissioner’s Abrupt Dismissal — The at-large councilmember suggests Franselene St. Jean was removed to silence dissenting voices.
A DCHA commissioner was removed shortly after asking questions about a whistleblower lawsuit and other issues surrounding the housing authority.
Former Housing Authority Lawyer Files Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Allegedly Counterfeit Masks — Chelsea Andrews claims DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett had her fired after she questioned the procurement and authenticity of KN95 masks.
The Final Proposal to Renovate the DC Housing Authority’s HQ Is Totally Different From the Original Plan — A trio of developers will pay DCHA $67 million for a 99-year lease on the land where its headquarters sits, according to the resolution.
The DC Comprehensive Plan (“Comp Plan” or “Plan”) is a key legislative document that covers a range of topics, from economic development, housing, the environment, parks and community services, transportation, and more.
The Future Land Use Map (FLUM) determines how DC will develop and grow as we move into the future and allows all residents and city planners to anticipate and prepare for development, no surprises!
The DC Office of Planning under the direction of the DC Mayor is now suggesting changes to the Comprehensive Plan, 1500-redlined pages of proposed amendments to the existing Plan policies and maps. They have delivered these proposed changes to the DC City Council to consider passing into law.
The Mayor put up a website to show the public (to a degree) the massive tome of amendments to the Plan. By the way, if you don’t speak or read English, you have been left completely out of the conversation.
On the Mayor’s Comp Plan website, there is a nifty maps page that was recently uploaded that uses a slider to let you see the proposed areas of the city where the Office of Planning wants to change future development, going up with bigger and denser buildings.
Sliding over the whole city and you see an array of properties that the Mayor seeks to upzone, aka upFLUM. What you don’t see are the numbers in square feet of how much density the mayor wants to allow to be developable as a “matter of right” (MOR).
In fact, no where on the Mayor’s Comprehensive Plan website will you find any facts relaying to the public that the proposed FLUM map changes equate to upzoning close to 200 million square feet of land and air rights.
As a friend suggests, the map changes show city officials essentially printing money for the landowners of these lucky properties being upFLUMed.
Nostalgic Gentrification As A Development Tool Vs. A More Practical And Budget Friendly Use of Circulator Buses
Transit Opinion by: Iris McCrea, Ward 7 Resident and Fort Dupont Civic Association Member
. . .
The position of the Fort Dupont Civic Association is against the extension of the Streetcar beyond the Langston Golf Course at Oklahoma Avenue, NE to East Capitol Street and Benning Road NE. However, we do support transit-oriented development along Benning Road and through sub-neighborhoods from Oklahoma Avenue to Southern Avenue which is even beyond the proposed end of the streetcar route.
. . .
[T]he Fort Dupont Civic Association strongly recommends the use of the Circulator Buses starting at Oklahoma Avenue instead of streetcars.
Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto Supports Defunding The Giveaway of McMillan Park, Further Exposing Greater Greater Washington as a PR Team for Mega-Real Estate Speculators
Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto has been added to the growing list of DC officials and candidates calling for the controversial McMillan Project to be defunded and/or competitively re-bid, seeking substantial changes to the project like including much more public green space and much more truly affordable housing for families. For example, there isn’t one affordable housing unit for a family of four with an income less then $60,000 specifically set in the current project, among many other issues.
That Pinto suggested the McMillan project as a cost burden to DC demonstrates one of two things: either she is opposed to new housing and offices in DC on sites that have gone through years of public review (probably unlikely), or she is so unaware of long-running District issues, having never voted in DC before running for office, that she is basing her position on a fringe element that supported her in the primary rather than a detailed understanding of the issue.
But suddenly in recent years, these numbers about Black displacement have been halved in the corporate media (40k –> 20k). But why?
2019: THE STORY AND NUMBERS ABOUT DISPLACEMENT CHANGE
In the past year, the shocking numbers of displacement of Black folks from their DC homes had suddenly shifted downward using what seems a devious sleight of data manipulation and language that hasn’t been openly discussed. This has confused alot of people involved in the work of fighting displacement.
That is, the fact that 40,000 Blacks have been displaced from DC between 2000-2010 is now being shrunk back to a figure closer to 20,000 over a longer period of time between 2000-2013.
The following are articles that presented the new displacement figures:
D.C. Has Had the Most Gentrifying Neighborhoods In The Country, Study Finds. D.C. had the highest percentage of gentrifying neighborhoods in the country between 2000 and 2013, according to a study from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a group that works to “increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities.” It estimates that around 20,000 black residents were displaced over that period. Mar 19, 2019. Cordilia James. DCist.
Who Can Afford to be a Washingtonian? Gentrification isn’t just about the proliferation of pricey salad shops and craft breweries. According to a 2019 study, gentrification in D.C. has pushed more low-income residents out of their homes than almost anywhere else in the country. Between 2003 and 2013, 20,000 black residents were displaced from D.C. By Caroline Hamilton. February 28, 2020. Georgetown Voice.
So if the census between 2000-2010 says 40,000 Black folks were displaced by DC’s development policies, then why do recent headlines suggest only 20,000 Black residents being pushed out?
The term of art at fault here are the words “eligible neighborhoods” that show an “intensity” of gentrification as explained in the NCRC study but not divulged by the press outlets.
Digging down a bit, we see in the study’s Executive Summary how the scope of the study was limited to “eligible neighborhoods” where, “neighborhoods were considered to be eligible to gentrify if in 2000 they were in the lower 40 percent of home values and family incomes in that metropolitan area.”
And, the study goes on with a DC focus, “Washington, D.C., had the highest percentage of gentrifying neighborhoods. Nearly half the neighborhoods in the city were eligible for gentrification in 2000, and 41 percent of those neighborhoods gentrified by 2013, displacing more than 20,000 people. The continuation of a robust real estate market since 2013 means it is likely that this trend is continuing to this day.”
So in effect, the NCRC “intensity of gentrification” study is saying that between 2000-2013, the displacement of Black folks happened the most in existing Black DC neighborhoods, with 20,000 people being pushed out of their longtime homes and away from families and friends.
However, this nuanced statistic in no way can nullify the reality that according to the Census, overall, 40,000 Blacks have been displaced citywide between 2000-2010 and not just displaced from “eligible neighborhoods.”
Primarily, its strange to say what neighborhood is more eligible than any other for gentrification. Seems a racist concept on its surface.
But it’s highly disconcerting that just a slight shift in language and scope of study (“eligible neighborhoods”) will result in substantially diminishing the actual reality of real impacts on real people by DC’s pro-development policies and the planning decisions made throughout the City.
40,000 Black People Have Been Displaced from DC Between 2000-2010
The following are articles that broke the shocking news that DC’s Chocolate City was disappearing.
The number of African Americans residing in the District plummeted by more than 11 percent during the past decade, with blacks on the verge of losing their majority status in the city for the first time in half a century.
According to census statistics released Thursday, barely 50 percent of the District’s population was African American in 2010 — a remarkable shift in a place once nicknamed “Chocolate City.”
The black population dropped by more than 39,000 over the decade, down to 301,000 of the city’s 601,700 residents. At the same time, the non-Hispanic white population skyrocketed by more than 50,000 to 209,000 residents, almost a third higher than a decade earlier.
The census statistics showed a steeper change for both blacks and whites than had been estimated. With the city ‘s black population dropping by about 1 percent a year, African Americans might already be below the 50 percent mark in the city.
In a city that prides itself on being a hub of black culture and politics, a majority of residents have been black since whites began moving to the suburbs en masse at the end of World War II. By 1970, seven out of 10 Washingtonians were black.
The loss of blacks comes at a time when the city is experiencing a rebound, reversing a 60-year-long slide in population and adding almost 20,000 new residents between 2000 and 2010.
The Post breaking the story about 40,000 Black folks were followed on by other press and policy forums.
In examining the criticism of this new gentrification-analysis (a project, not a study) by students at the University of California Merced, we see several key aspects of the “urbanist” take on development of major cities in the US:
Pushing a dogmatic belief that building more market-rate studio and one bedrooms will trickle down housing costs and this “filtering” effect is the key way to get past a decade-long housing crisis.
Fostering ambivalence in municipal planning that eschews substantial permanent impacts that more development has on existing neighbors and neighborhood services such as a need for increased schools, libraries, clinics, parks, transportation, utility infrastructure, etc.
Believing that a #BuildMore housing policy (even if its largely expensive studios and one bedrooms) doesn’t need to take account of the resultant displacement of communities of color. That is, smart growth means having an absolute ambivalence to witnessing Black and Brown neighbors getting displaced and replaced by whiter new neighbors in almost all major US cities.
Possessing a monolithic cultural approach to reshaping cities in that all people — newcomers and existing residents alike — are expected to squeeze into untested development paradigms. That is, the desire to live with more neighbors is paramount to all other planning considerations especially if these new neighbors are whiter and able to afford significantly higher housing costs in much smaller unit sizes, and can afford expensive food, coffee and beer, appreciate yoga, and have a small dog.
However, if you are going to slam a qualitative look at gentrification and ignore the quantitative studies and real results of the overarching #BuildMore planning policies that this student project is based on, then you are acting in service to displacement. See the studies below.
Choosing to cherry pick and attack the one limited Street View project and then not openly assail existing harmful public policy that is actually driving our neighbors out of our longterm homes only helps propel real estate speculation and the developers bottom-line. Is that what you really want to do?
KEY STUDIES SEEMINGLY IGNORED BY CITY PLANNERS & URBANISTS
This study shows a feast or famine situation with government investments in our communities, and “[H]ighlights how gentrification and cultural displacement have unfolded in American cities, while many low-income small towns and rural neighborhoods remain starved of investment.”
A Governing report says, “Neighborhoods gentrifying since 2000 recorded population increases and became whiter, with the share of non-Hispanic white residents increasing an average of 4.3 percentage points. Meanwhile, lower-income neighborhoods that failed to gentrify experienced slight population losses and saw the concentration of minorities increase. They have also experienced different economic fates: Average poverty rates climbed nearly 7 percent in already lower-income tracts that didn’t gentrify, while dropping slightly in gentrifying neighborhoods.”
Blavity & Buzzfeed: “A new study … shows an increasing rate of Black residents are being driven out of neighborhoods in the U.S. According to the data, Oakland, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New York City and Baltimore are among the cities that are especially impacted by gentrification.”
This 2000-2010 study says, “Washington, DC, residents don’t need census data to tell them what’s obvious in their neighborhoods: the city is changing dramatically. But numbers can give us context. They can show us how shifts in population are reshaping the city and can help us prepare for changes to come.”
The LegalAid society interprets recent a key displacement study, “Cultural displacement happens when there is “a rapid decline” in the number of minorities in an area as “white gentrifiers replace” minority residents. Both gentrification and cultural displacement have left a powerful imprint on DC over recent years.”
To the public investment issue, “So where do upwardly mobile creatives go as they begin to get priced out? They seek less expensive neighborhoods, where the cycle of displacement continues. “Now, people are looking at Anacostia like, ‘Oh, this is a place to come,’” Aristotle Theresa said. “And so, now the government starts injecting capital into the area, when they didn’t before.”
WaPo analysis, “Low-income residents are being pushed out of gentrifying neighborhoods at the highest rate in the country. The neighborhoods that have experienced the largest outflow of low-income residents, according to the study — places such as Logan Circle, Petworth and Columbia Heights — have an average walk score of 82.5 and an average transit score of 74.5.”
Non-profit Quarterly comments, “The displacement numbers seem low, but the authors used fairly narrow definitions of gentrification and displacement.”
WJLA: Local Small DC Business also getting crushed under gentrification. “When you invest in a place without investing in the people, what happens is you’re displacing people,” Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC).
Georgetown Voice: “Gentrification isn’t just about the proliferation of pricey salad shops and craft breweries. According to a 2019 study, gentrification in D.C. has pushed more low-income residents out of their homes than almost anywhere else in the country. Between 2003 and 2013, 20,000 black residents were displaced from D.C.”
How about this study (from 2015) that defines gentrification not on a street view but on “a [census] tract’s median household income and median home value.”
Despite saying Gentrification is “beneficial” GGW cites studies that say, “A neighborhood out-mobility rate increase of a few percent on average, across gentrifying neighborhoods in the whole country, can mask what’s happening at the hyper-local scale. In certain neighborhoods, out-movement through displacement, whether direct or indirect, has likely been much higher.”
“In the District of Columbia, low-income residents are being pushed out of neighborhoods at some of the highest rates in the country, according to the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, which sought to track demographic and economic changes in neighborhoods in the 50 largest U.S. cities from 2000 to 2016.” https://housingis.org/resource/gentrification-dc-means
The fog of class war has the Council Chair saying things like it would be tantalizing to cut immigration services, emergency rent support, and other human services to make up for a stupid move to tax small publications in the District (The Ad Tax).
What a slick move, a smokescreen. First, this “debacle” has got the advocacy community to scramble their bases to beg the Council not to cut $18M more in services to real DC people instead of bringing on fire from the people demanding that the overall first budget vote be completely trashed and we start over. See FBC breakdown of the first Council vote on July 7th below:
Meanwhile, with all the content that the so-called urbanists pull off with the help of developer contributions, the budget vote is as important as one retweet of a DCist report. David Alpert is far from concerned about what this budget means for DC’s communities of color.
Conclusion: Its all perplexing but a skillful clumsy show put on by the Chair, Phil Mendelson and sheepish Council colleagues. The Chairman however is in the driver seat, commanding control over the city and outcomes for all its people in perpetrating an oppressive racist corporate agenda to crush Black families and communities of color and working residents of the District of Columbia.
To see this agenda and the people who pull the puppet strings, click the following links:
The DC Housing Crisis vs 30,000 Vacancies in DC. . . What is Going On?
The vacancy information for Washington, D.C. below is based on the 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS) which is conducted biennially by the U.S. Census.
This AHS survey asks landlords about vacancy status, resulting in this table below (Table: B25004) representing a timeframe of 60 months of collected data. There are also 1-year and 3-year estimates.
The Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is the smallest level at which the survey reports data.
How can there be 30,000 vacant units when we have a housing crisis?
Thirty thousand vacant units counted! This fact destroys any assumption that building more luxury housing will eventually result in lower cost housing units trickling down in what growth supporters call, “Filtering.”
Luxury Units Stay Empty Without Any Market Corrections
Luxury units for investment (lots of it foreign) results in developer demand for upzoning to increase buildable density without providing housing to be lived in. What is the good of new housing being kept uninhabited by investors? It stifles free market supply-and-demand and keeps prices of housing high, while allowing bankers and the construction industry to profit.
Empty housing units are also tax liabilities that can be written off by mega real estate speculators at the end of the year, equaling a form of income. Thus, the myth of the effect of supply-and-demand on housing is exposed as the tax write-offs for empty units completely nullifies any market corrections.
Foreign Investment in Luxury Housing Creates Exclusive New Communities in DC With High Vacancies
U.S. real estate remains attractive for illicit money from all over the world. In DC, that foreign money invests into planning officials follies, like the dramatic changes at Union Market in Northeast. #UnionMarketExclusive
It’s a stable investment that generally maintains or grows in value – and it gives corrupt oligarchs and dictators a potential escape route if they’re ousted from their home countries.
But this money drives out honest purchasers and makes cities hotbeds for dirty, unproductive cash. It turns cities and communities into commodities.
In one part of New York City, for example, the Census Bureau estimated that 30 percent of apartments are unoccupied most of the year.
Whomst really are we subsidizing, constructing, and housing in all these giant luxury boxes? Case in point: #SWWaterfrontExclusive
Legislation is needed to require habitation of units built. After all, owners are not permitted to keep houses vacant on the streets of DC. Why should it be different with condo or apartment buildings?
COVID UPDATE JUNE 2020
COVID UPDATE AUG 2020
The Washingtonian, August 3, 2020 — NoMa and H Street apartments are experiencing an 8.2 percent vacancy rate, while developments in Navy Yard and Southwest are seeing 7.7 percent vacancy. The vacancy rates in those areas were less than 5 percent at the same time last year. District-wide, the average vacancy rate in luxury apartments is currently 6.8 percent, compared to 4.1 percent last year.
However, the resultant socioeconomic policies promulgated by Bowser and city officials in service to wealthy white men is actively harming local Black residents and longtime DC families living in established working-class neighborhoods of color.
D.C. has the highest ‘intensity’ of gentrification of any U.S. city recent studies show. Wapo story || DCist story.
King describes how the city plays an “active role in development [by] selling or leasing publicly owned land, changing zoning laws, closing alleys and providing developers with inducements to construct new — or refurbish old — buildings [putting] upward pressure on rents and housing values [forcing] poor folks…out of their neighborhoods… .”
DC PEOPLE ARE THE SAUCE. DISPLACEMENT IS A CRIME AGAINST PEOPLE AND CULTURE!
On Friday, January 31, 2020, Councilmember Anita Bonds who chairs the DC Council Housing Committee, hosted a hearing on the DC Department of Housing Authority (DCHA) and their “respositioning” plan for DC’s public housing stock — real homes where real people live and have real personal and professional networks.
Some public housing residents were in attendance and testified to the deplorable conditions that Chairwoman Bonds has heard about with public housing continually for years — mold, pipes leaking, rodents, infrastructure, etc.
There were ANC Commissioners and Ward 6 Public Housing residents there, like Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton who says she knows of pets living in better conditions than that provided at housing managed by DCHA.
There were other residents testifying from Greenleaf Public Housing in the Southwest, DC, Ward 6, testifying about the terrible living conditions that must be repaired now, not over a 17-year DCHA plan.
Mrs. Shawnta High, President of the Park Morton Residents Council in Ward 1 describes how DCHA has begun the plan to “revitalize” her community. She speaks about being thrown out of her home of nearly twenty years by DCHA’s repositioning plan.
Denise Thomas lives/ed in Ward 7’s Kenilworth Gardens, which has seen DCHA begin its “repositioning” on her home and neighborhood and how its destroying all of it.
Chris Otten, a DCHA client in Ward 1, describes what it is like living in a DCHA-subsidized unit that is managed by a private slumlord with toxic dust and mildew never being remedied.
Paulette Matthews, bounced from Barry Farms Public Housing in Ward 8, now lives in Ward 1, who describes the horrendous disruption from displacement and how it has changed her life and that of her family.
Councilmember Elissa Silverman actually sums it up DCHA’s “repositioning” plan during her opening remarks:
I am extremely concerned that DCHA is not just drifting away from serving its most vulnerable residents but deliberately abandoning our most vulnerable residents.I fear that DCHA has grown into an appendage of the real-estate division of our Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). And, this is going to lead to the continued gentrification of our city.