mayor bowser

Affordable Housing: Mayor Announces $500 Million to Offset GOP Bond Cuts

“Like most Americans, we were sleeping last Friday at 2am when Senate Republicans passed what they call the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs bill,’” said Mayor Bowser, at a press conference in DC this morning.

And like most Americans, the Mayor was not happy. The tax bill would decimate the country’s ability to fund its necessary social services going forward, adding around $1.5 trillion to the federal debt. But most specifically to the work of the Housing Advocacy Team, the bill cuts a key tool for funding affordable housing: private activity bonds created through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

These tax-exempt bonds leverage private investment with public subsidy to create affordable housing. Many affordable homes currently in the works in DC are counting on having access to this financing. But under the version of the bill the Senate passed these bonds would be severely weakened, and under the House’s bill they would disappear entirely.

MANNA, Inc. just finished two apartment rehabs in Brightwood—a total of 60 homes—that wouldn’t have been possible without this program. And there are another 230 homes in MANNA’s pipeline that depend on private activity bond financing.

Those numbers are reflected in the city as a whole, too. Since 2010, 9,000 affordable homes have been produced or preserved thanks to private activity bonds. And it’s exactly the kind of innovative market-led program that Republicans claim to love. $1.3 billion in public funding have produced an additional $650 million in investment from the private market.

bowser press conferenceMayor Bowser at Monday morning’s press conference

The importance of private activity bonds led the Mayor to decide DC couldn’t wait to see what happens before acting. “While we call on Congress to go back to the drawing board on taxes, we are not going to wait to act on housing,” declared Mayor Bowser.

That’s why she announced that DC’s Housing Finance Agency will be issuing $500 million of its own tax-free bonds to preserve most of what the District might lose under the federal bill.

That will allow DC to produce or preserve an additional 4,000 affordable homes—most of which are already in the works. The Mayor noted that as large as this investment is, it doesn’t even meet everything that’s in the current affordable housing pipeline. Getting funds quickly to projects that are furthest along will be crucial for keeping DC’s affordable housing development on track.

But the bond funding also serves as an important statement of what DC stands for—what Mayor Bowser often cites as “DC values.” As Councilmember Anita Bonds (At-large), the chair of the City Council’s housing committee put it, “It is important that in our own way we send a message that we will stand against these cuts.”

With the issuance of these bonds, the District government communicates that providing safe, affordable homes for all remains a top priority.

If only the same could be said of the other government in DC.

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Republicans, Tax Cuts, and the Manufacturing of a Crisis

We have a debt crisis staring us in the face. … The problem we have is spending, not taxes. We’ve got to get our spending under control because that’s the root cause of our problem.
-Paul Ryan, speaking in 2011 on Meet the Press

On its face, the Republican tax plan working its way through Congress is not a direct assault on affordable housing. Yes, it would decimate bond funding for affordable projects. Yes, it would eliminate several tax credits that help build affordable housing. And yes, the very rumor of its existence has caused multi-million dollar holes to appear in affordable housing plans for over a year now.

But still, this does not appear to be an assault on affordable housing in the same way that this summer (and fall’s) campaign to repeal Obamacare was an assault on healthcare.

Bruce Bartlett, a former policy adviser to President Reagan, says that appearance is wrong. In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Bartlett says that in the minds of many congressional Republicans, the $1.5 trillion deficit resulting from tax cuts isn’t a defect—it’s a primo feature.

That deficit, caused by their tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, will allow Republicans to double down on arguments like the one Paul Ryan makes above. “There’s only so much money coming in,” Republican leaders will explain. “The responsible thing to do is cut spending.”

Sound overly cynical? Bartlett knows first-hand that it’s not. It’s the same thing that congressional Republicans did in the 1980s after Reagan’s tax breaks. It’s the same thing that they did again in the 2010s (see: Ryan, Paul), in a crisis caused by the Bush tax breaks. And it’s the same thing Kansas Republicans have been doing for the past half-decade as Governor Sam Brownback works to create a tax-free utopia.

In each of these cases, Republicans passed massive tax cuts, then railed righteously against the resulting unbalanced budgets—demanding that social spending be cut to right the ship.

It’s a part of the “starve the beast” movement (the beast being our government and its social programs), another step along the way to making government small enough to drown in a bathtub.

And we’ve already seen what the Trump Administration’s true priorities are for affordable housing—this year they proposed throwing 200,000 low-income families off of rent vouchers, with a significant portion of those families likely to end up homeless.

Congress balked at those plans, with even many Republicans seeing the cuts as unnecessary and cruel. But that calculus could easily change when the mother of all manufactured crises hits.

If this tax bill goes through and the US is running $1 trillion per year deficits by 2020, Republicans will likely be clamoring again to balance the budget—and discretionary spending on things like affordable housing will be among the first things to go.

“The problem we have,” Paul Ryan will piously remind us, “is spending.”

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southwest_1939

Georgetown and Southwest DC: Two Histories, One Outcome

Image: DC’s Southwest Waterfront, a working class black community, before its destruction

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  -George Santayana

Over more than a century, two separate government initiatives resulted in the forceful displacement of 45,000 black Washingtonian families. In 2017, the replacement of those families with a new whiter, wealthier population draws near completion.

Black Georgetown

At the turn of the 20th century, Georgetown was home to a thriving black community. Excluded from many other neighborhoods close to downtown by racial property covenants, black residents were able to put down roots in Georgetown thanks to the area’s alley dwellings.

The alley dwellings, which were simply in-fill houses that faced towards alleys rather than along a city street, became home to black professionals, business owners, and social groups. At its peak, the community had half a dozen churches throughout Georgetown.

mt zion

Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Georgetown, early 1900s

But by the 1910s, the area was becoming more desirable to white families—and the importance of segregation was increasing at a national level. In large part driven by a desire to remove Georgetown’s black residents, federal officials declared alley dwellings a public health issue and created a plan for their demolition with the Alley Dwelling Act of 1914.

Certainly the alley dwellings, which often lacked indoor plumbing, were less than ideal for their residents. But neither were they all the unsalvageable monstrosities they were made out to be—with modifications, some still exist today, and they’re worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The campaign to displace black Georgetown continued for decades. By 1950, black residents made up only one-tenth of Georgetown’s population, down from 50 percent or more at its peak. As part of a final push for displacement, the Old Georgetown Act of 1950 was passed. This law included a provision requiring that all Georgetown homes be updated to meet new requirements for historic accuracy, with all plans needing to be approved by a federal oversight board.

Georgetown’s remaining black residents, as the bill’s authors likely realized, were largely unable to meet the expensive new standards. The veracity with which these standards were enforced, however, varied greatly. Stories from that time period tell of black families’ homes being seized for non-compliance, given a new coat of paint, and declared fully restored and ready for resale to white families.

The Southwest Waterfront

By the time Senator John F. Kennedy was buying a Georgetown home in 1957, the theft was complete—Georgetown was almost all white and very wealthy. But across town, another half-century of theft was just getting underway.

“Urban renewal” was all the rage in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. This renewal worked, in theory, by allowing local governments to determine areas where slum housing was prevalent. The local housing department was then empowered to seize these areas through eminent domain and redevelop them as a public good.

As problematic as that may sound, it was actually worse. Time and time again, in city after city, labeling an area a “slum” had much less to do with the condition of the area’s housing, and a great deal to do with the race of that housing’s occupants.

In DC, this process was run directly by the federal government. As we’ve written about before, federal officials declared that the working-class black neighborhood along the Southwest waterfront was, in fact, a slum.

sw dcBusinesses, like this one, did not escape Southwest DC’s demolition

The neighborhood was seized, bulldozed, and then somewhat inexplicably left mostly vacant for decades.

Just this year, the intention of that clearance has been brought to fruition. The first phase of the Wharf, DC’s new mega-development, recently opened along the Southwest waterfront. Despite receiving almost $300 million of public subsidy, it will hold just 180-odd units of affordable housing—with micro-units accounting for a third of that total. The rest of the development’s 650 units, plus hundreds more hotel rooms, will almost certainly cater to a wealthier, whiter clientele.

In this way, the twin processes complete themselves. Georgetown’s black population is long-gone, with government intervention having succeeded in moving their homes to white ownership. The Southwest waterfront neighborhood is resigned to the history books, and a mostly white, wealthy set of newcomers is now enjoying that area’s publicly subsidized amenities.

Through alley clearance and urban renewal, the federal government displaced an estimated 45,000 black Washingtonian families. To deal with the crisis they had wrought, they mandated the creation of a huge public housing network, located almost exclusively east of the Anacostia river. DC still deals with the resulting segregation and concentration of poverty to this day.

The District can and must do better. We can require that deals with public money build more affordable housing. We can support and subsidized projects that would create affordable units in high-income areas. We can increase funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund and the Home Purchase Assistance Program.

And most immediately, we can demand that plans for Phase Two at the Wharf be changed to include more and larger affordable homes. In light of our history, it would be only the smallest of first steps towards repentance.

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empty luxury

The Luxury Ship is Sinking–Could DC Developers Jump to Affordable Housing?

Across the country, more and more developers are hitting what they consider to be an unpleasant reality—the luxury housing market is flooded. With so many new luxury units coming onto the market at the same time, there’s too much supply to support the sky-high rents that these amenity-rich developments demand.

There’s at least some evidence that the same could be true in DC. As luxury units flow into neighborhoods like Shaw, Capitol Hill, and new megadevelopments like the Wharf, top rents have gone down in other neighborhoods. Anecdotally, people around the city talk about longer and longer periods to fill these new buildings, with some sitting close to half-empty.

And rents for the most desirable buildings in Columbia Heights, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, and Mount Vernon Triangle have all declined.

Does this mean we’re moving into a new period of affordability? Is it time to celebrate the salvation of the city?

premature celebration

Not even close. These drops in prices only apply to the top of the market. Average rents are still increasing, although they are finally increasing more slowly than the country as a whole.

But the crisis remains. Lifelong DC residents are still being pushed out of their homes every day.

There is opportunity, however, if for-profit developers in DC get turned off of building more luxury units. In other places across the country, developers are now looking at a new (old) way to make money: workforce and affordable housing.

Building for people of more modest means has been so neglected in recent years that there’s an enormous demand for any developer who can bring something reasonably priced to market. What’s more, developers are starting to see less expensive housing as a wiser investment—unlike those in luxury digs, average families don’t look to downsize as soon as the economy turns south.

To get for-profit developers to build truly affordable housing, however, will require a lot of subsidy. Part of that is, of course, the “profit” piece of for-profit. That extra expense, along with the rarity of a true sense of mission to their work, is the reason non-profits need to keep leading in affordable housing development—when money is the only motivator, it has a way of bulldozing even those who are supposed to be served by a project.

But there’s a fundamental reality to the need for subsidy, too. To get rent prices below market rate means making them cheaper than the sum of their parts—land prices, construction costs, management fees, maintenance. All of these things are expensive (some at historic highs), and if we’re serious about keeping a diverse city, we need to invest more in making it happen.

One important first step would be quickly passing Councilmember Anita Bonds’ (At-Large) bill that would set a $120 million floor each year for DC’s Housing Production Trust Fund. That would increase the fund by $20 million over its current level, while also saving it from the yearly changes in the political winds that it is currently vulnerable to.

It might not be for the right reasons, but DC’s for-profit developers could soon be coming around to affordable housing. To make that move stick, we’ll need to invest more in housing—and fast.

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how-to-kill-a-city-e1510000622320

How to Kill a City? Start with Welfare for the Wealthy

“Our urban system is based on the theory of taking the peasant and turning him into an industrial worker. Now there are no industrial jobs. Why not keep him a peasant?”

That decades-old quote from Roger Starr, New York City’s former head of the Housing and Development Administration, ultimately led to his resignation. But Peter Moskowitz, in his new book How to Kill a City, argues that this is in fact the theory of governance that has dominated cities for the past fifty years.

It is, says Moskowitz, “gentrification as governance.”

Moskowitz takes readers on a brief tour of how gentrification is often covered in the media: bemused newscasters reading stories about hipsters moving into converted warehouses; blue-toned photos of new coffee shops alongside rundown buildings; longtime residents giving startled interviews about how fast things have changed.

coffee gent

Like this

The message in all of this is that gentrification just happens. It’s an almost mystical process. Even if we wanted to stop it, what could be done?

Highlighting the recent history of four cities—New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York City—Moskowitz unveils the systematic structures that support gentrification. By the time he’s done, it’s clear that gentrification doesn’t just happen. In fact, it’s an awful lot of work.

The first thing needed to promote gentrification as governance is the right mindset. As cities across the country grappled with budget shortfalls caused by white flight and federal cuts under President Reagan, local governments were forced to start buying bonds to cover their expenses.

This introduced corporate bond owners and, eventually, emergency managers as new, unelected players in local governance. They brought with them a novel concept, quickly adopted by their elected counterparts: cities should turn a profit.

Applying a business lens to city governance makes for some quick accounting. Poor people are liabilities—they need more assistance in healthcare, housing, and transportation than they pay in taxes. Rich people are assets—they pay more than they need in return.

As Moskowitz notes, this analysis completely ignores the centuries of theft from people of color (and government subsidy to white people) that created a racialized picture of American wealth. But never mind that now—there’s rich people to attract!

Sometimes, like in New Orleans, an external catastrophe provides the opportunity for change. After Hurricane Katrina, powerful locals were pretty explicit in their desire to build a city for a different population than the one that already lived there.

As one real estate developer was quoted saying at the time, “[T]he hurricane drove poor people and criminals out of the city, and we hope they don’t come back. … The party’s finally over for these people and now they’re going to have to find someplace else to live in the U.S.”

City officials agreed. One city councilman at the time summed up the situation thusly. “There’s been a lot of pampering, and at some point you have to say, ‘no, no, no, no, no.’ We don’t need more soap opera watchers right now.”

One of the first steps in this transformation was the demolition of almost all public housing in New Orleans, despite the fact that the vast majority of this housing was not damaged by the storm.

In its place, mixed income developments have sprung up, with plenty of amenities and security for the newcomers. Through this process of demolition and redevelopment, over 12,000 low-income families lost their homes.

New Orleans also moved to make sure that different businesses thrived after the storm. Low-income areas were designated cultural districts, with tax breaks for artists. But these districts also included tax breaks for new businesses—and only new businesses. Newcomers were given credits to rehab old storefronts and to subsidize their operation, while longtime community businesses were cut out of the program.

new orleans

From The New Orleans Advocate.  See especially the change around Mid-City and neighborhoods to the east.

Similar dynamics are playing out all across the country.

In Detroit, the city government divested much of its responsibility to outside groups after it went through bankruptcy. The city’s targeted development areas are now in large part governed by the businesses themselves. Through advisory boards and nonprofits that they fund, developers get to make decisions on public transportation, policing, and even zoning policy. They are literally writing their own rules.

And those rules almost always cater to predominantly white newcomers at the expense of longtime black residents. Detroit’s corporate overlords have even gone so far as to institute a sort of reverse HPAP—a home purchase assistance program that is only available to their own (predominantly white and wealthy) employees.

Then there are the more standard developer giveaways: city land and tax breaks for developers to build market rate housing. Moskowitz doesn’t feature DC in his book, but it’s easy enough to imagine projects like The Wharf and its $300 million in public subsidy filling a chapter.

There are no easy answers in How to Kill a City. Moskowitz is upfront about the fact that moving towards truly equitable development will require a great deal of city planning and significant financial investment. But as the book makes clear, the only thing that takes more planning and more money than stopping gentrification is creating it.

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Affordable Housing at The Wharf?

One of the largest developments to ever happen in DC, The Wharf, has finally revealed itself to many “Ooh’s & Ahh’s”. With progressive legislation in place, and a highly-celebrated public-private partnership, let’s see what is there for us in the affordable housing realm.

Manna.wharf

Of the 649 apartments becoming available in Phase 1, DC’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) highlights that 30% of the units will be affordable housing. But over one-third of those “affordable” units are considered workforce housing, pegged at 100% or 120% of AMI- or for those families making between $110,000 and $132,000  per year.

While it is not a problem to have “workforce housing” – it is a problem to have that included in the affordable housing calculations. It makes it confusing for the general public and forces us to scrutinize the numbers to see exactly what they’re talking about.

 The most confusing thing is DMPED spotlighting how half of the affordable housing units are for those households at 30% AMI and 60% AMI- but that is only true if the “workforce” units aren’t included in the calculation.

However, that same statement boasts how a third of the total 639 units are “affordable housing,” which can only be true if the “workforce” units ARE included in the calculation. You cannot have your cake and eat it too, DMPED.

You can't have your cake and eat it too... unless there's another cake we don't know about

You can’t have your cake and eat it too… unless there’s another cake we don’t know about

In any other situation, us housing advocates would be quite pleased to have 20% of a development’s units at less than 60% of AMI- because that’s about double what Inclusionary Zoning rules require- and us housing advocates are conditioned to accept whatever pieces of success we’re given.

manna.oliver

However, let us not forget that much of The Wharf came from the selling of public land by the district. WAMU’s story in 2013 revealed that the publicly-owned land valued at $95 million was sold to Paramount Development Corporation for *drumroll* $1.

manna.shock

Yes, you heard that right. $1. Oh yeah, plus $200 million in public subsidies and tax breaks. That is an incredibly steep price to pay for just 131 affordable units so far, one-third of which are micro-units.

Micro-Units, between 330-360 square feet

Micro-Units, between 330-360 square feet

And so, I think we are completely in the right to develop more transparency in this process and to ask why the numbers that DC’s DMPED highlights are not quite true to reality. Also, what is the point of a high percentage of affordable housing if there isn’t much housing to begin with? For a project this large, 649 units is not very much, plus the fact that there are more hotel rooms than apartment units, and so it seems to be another aspect of this development- and future developments- worthy of scrutiny.

Phase II of The Wharf is still in process, and let us all pay attention to ANY sale of public land that does not include high amounts of truly affordable housing, with opportunities to increase the equity of those DC residents who need it most.

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dc house

HPAP, EAHP, and Hard Work: Homeownership Success

To say that lifelong Washingtonian Erin Skinner has been busy the last few years is an understatement.

When the lease on her old apartment expired more than two years ago, she applied at a few other buildings in the area. But she quickly learned that, despite having a stable job as a DC government employee, she didn’t earn enough to even qualify in the buildings where she wanted to live. That realization led her to start looking for a home to buy instead, and she joined MANNA’s Homebuyers Club—on top of everything else in her life.

Skinner is a single parent to her two sons, ages 17 and 4. At the time, she was also hard at work on her undergraduate degree—all while never cutting back on her DC government job.

“I was in school full-time and working full-time. And looking for this house,” says Skinner.

After getting her credit score up with help from the Homebuyers Club, Skinner started looking for her new home. The search was possible thanks to DC’s Home Purchase Assistance Program, the District’s down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, and the Employer Assistance Housing Program, which Skinner was eligible for because she is a District employee.

But even with the incredible amount of work Skinner was putting in and funding sources all lined up, the process was a constant challenge.

Skinner had a house picked out that seemed perfect, and she was set to go to closing. But at the last minute she found that the regulations calculating her eligibility had been changed—her student loans now counted against her total debt.

The deal fell through. Skinner had to pass on her perfect house and start the whole process over again. With everything else in her life, it felt overwhelming.

But Skinner kept pushing, she says, in large part because of her love for DC. “I never wanted to leave DC. I was born and raised here.”

She recognizes that in many ways it’s a different city than the one she grew up in. “The city is changing so rapidly, all the new storefronts and condos. I’ve been wondering whether that would happen to where I live [in Southeast].”

People often ask why she doesn’t leave. “I want to stay here,” says Skinner. “I want to be able to benefit from everything that’s going on. All the changes are not bad… I want to benefit from the good changes that are going on in DC, and also to have my children benefit from those changes.”

Finally, Skinner’s dream has come together. This year, she says, “has been the year of me.” In May she graduated from college, and soon after she found a house that fits her family’s needs even better than the one before. And with the lift from HPAP and EAHP, her mortgage payments are far more manageable than renting.

What’s more, it meets her top goal: staying in DC. “Actually,” says Skinner, “where I live now is 10 minutes from where I’ve lived my entire life.”

She has some advice for others going through MANNA’s Homebuyers Club.

“To other prospective homebuyers, there are going to be days that you want to quit. There are going to be times when you see the house that you really, really want, and you find out that you can’t get it. Just know that if you keep going, you’ll find a house that’s even better than the one you thought you had to have.”

After seeing what hard work and HPAP can do, it’s hard to argue with her.

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Sign the Petition: Schedule a hearing for the HPTF Guarantee Funding Act!

The Housing Production Trust Fund is DC’s best tool for building and preserving affordable housing–it has made and saved homes for thousands of Washingtonians. Mayor Bowser and the Council have done historic work by funding the HPTF at $100 million each year since the Mayor took office.

Sign the petition here!

But each year the trust fund is subject to political fights in the budget process. We can’t count on always having a Council and a Mayor this committed to affordable housing. That’s why we need to make funding the HPTF an automatic part of the DC budget. What’s more, DC’s affordable housing crisis is still getting worse, and President Trump’s disastrous leadership is threatening affordable housing dollars across the country.

Councilmember Anita Bonds (At-Large) has introduced a bill to guarantee funding for the trust fund at $120 million each year. Getting this bill passed would be the biggest win for affordable housing in years! Read the petition below, and add your voice urging Councilmember Bonds and Chairman Phil Mendelson to schedule a hearing for this important legislation!

 

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Who’s Got Housing?

Is housing a privilege or a right?

Regardless of your opinion (it is a right), there is a NEED for housing in DC among those in plain view most easily forgotten–and a program with financial incentives to people who open their door.

How many homeless people are here in DC? 7,473 as of January 2017.

shock face

The District’s New Lease on Life program connects landlords with available units to families currently experiencing homelessness. Landlords receive a partial subsidy from DC, and the family pays the rest of the rent. The families also receive any necessary support services during their one-year lease.

The program has been incredibly successful, with participating landlord Thomas Batmen noting that, “Families exiting homelessness pose no greater risk than any other family applying for a lease.”

Monthly Landlord Outreach meetings organize folks to host meet and greets, establish risk mitigation funds to assuage landlords’ fears of losing money, and propose broader policy changes.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Department of Human Services, DC Interagency Council on Homelessness and CNHED are holding a reception this Friday from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM to talk about the New Lease on Life program.

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TOPA: he-said, she-said

TOPA… where’s the cream filling?

DATA: THAT's the stuff!!!

DATA: THAT’s the stuff!!!

Something is missing in all of this talk about TOPA… data.

A hearing was held this past Thursday mulling over a change to the District’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), which gives tenants a chance to match any offer by a third party looking to buy the tenants’ home. It’s one of DC’s best tenant protections, as well as a crucial way in which renters can become owners of their homes, and any attempt to change or weaken it is understandably met with considerable alarm.

But on Thursday, one of the most alarming things was the lack of cohesive data that either side could agree on. Data leads to facts, and facts should inform laws.

The change to TOPA currently being proposed is, on the surface, relatively minor—tenant advocates and the DC Association of Realtors (DCAR) have agreed on fixes to speed the TOPA process for single family homes, and both sides feel they’re close to reaching an agreement on tenants’ option to assign their TOPA rights to a third party (also just focusing on single family homes). However, the testimony went well beyond that, and the chair of the Council made ominous claims** towards a larger fight over TOPA.

In the hearing, Councilmember Anita Bonds (At-Large), who introduced the bill, and Chairman Phil Mendelson asked the realtors testifying from DCAR about how many successful buyouts  have occurred in their experience with cases involving TOPA.

The anecdotal remarks led to differences in the magnitude of 10x- from .5% to 5%.

Magnitudes of 10

Magnitudes of 10

The same questions posed to the legal counsel for tenants also produced questionable data. One of the tenant advocates testifying retorted that a tenant with good enough credit to execute TOPA rights isn’t seeking those in the legal counsel that were testifying at this hearing, implying that these questions about successful cases were anecdotal at best, and ridiculous to be putting on the record.

It should be noted that the metrics for which we evaluate TOPA depend on whether we define “success” as the tenants succeeding in purchasing their unit, “succeeding” at staying in their unit as a tenant, or “succeeding” by leveraging their TOPA rights so that they can see some small benefit from their displacement.

The fault is perhaps with the city for not tracking data on rental units in general, and those employing TOPA rights being an especially important aspect of that in this case. Due to obscure facts, those lobbying on both sides are putting forth data that supports their case, instead of being able to lay a factual foundation.

"I heard it through the grapevine, and I'm just about to lose my mind"

“I heard it through the grapevine, and I’m just about to lose my mind”

For the most innovative and impactful legislation that DC has to empower tenants, I am stupefied by the lack of data.

Here is an example of the data that I would like to see before changes are made:

The change to TOPA being discussed has the potential to effect _____ property owners and ______ tenants.

 

** Chairman Phil Mendelson went as far as encouraging “a flat-out exemption to single-family homes,” which was well beyond the scope of the legislative hearing

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