Why isn’t there enough affordable housing in the District of Columbia? It’s not that complicated. If you’re a landlord or a property developer, there isn’t much incentive to rent to someone who can afford only $500 per month versus someone who can afford $1,000 or $2,000 per month. If you’re looking for an answer to the District’s affordable housing crisis, don’t look to commercial real estate.
What about government? Does the city have an obligation to make sure that those in need have housing? As a Human Rights City, the District is morally but not legally obligated to insure that everyone has housing. Based on the city’s ever diminishing number of public housing units, one can assume this is not an obligation that the city takes too seriously. Yes, Mayor Bowser has dedicated $100 million to affordable housing programs, but most of this money will bolster housing for those whose income is near the median.
The nation’s capitol famously has a wider gap between the rich and the poor than any actual state in the country. For those of us who haven’t had the educational and employment opportunities needed to maintain steady employment, affording the District’s mile high housing is a constant struggle. The answer for us will not be a government deal with developers to set aside a few units for low-income residents. The answer will come in the form of community control.
Which brings us to organizations like Pan African Community Action (PACA) and the National Black United Front. These organizations work toward full community access to the resources needed to realize a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of individuals and families, including: food, clothing, housing, medical care, and necessary social services.
For the Pan African Community Action political education, action and advocacy are an important part of their programming. There latest action was to host a Community Town Hall Meeting with the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. The group is a body of independent experts dedicated to improving the human rights situation of the Black Diaspora. They came to the District to learn how African-Americans are treated in the United States. Participants were asked to testify about gentrification, police brutality, labor, environmental racism and gender oppressions. The video below is a montage of testimonials regarding the many unarmed Blacks who’ve been killed by the police, most of whom don’t get national attention.
Although PACA calls for community control over the police, they believe that no real headway will be made with regard to injustice and inequity for African-descended people (or anyone else for that matter) until there is community control over the land, water, and jobs. To that end, PACA will be hosting the …
Community Popular Education Forum:
COMMUNITY CONTROL OF RESOURCES
Thursday, February 11
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
4200 Kansas Ave NW
Questions? // firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.787.5229