Mayor Vincent Gray promised in his address at the “Housing for All” rally to reveal more information about his plan to support affordable housing across the Continuum of Housing. While housing advocates approached the promise with a bit of skepticism, it appears Gray will follow through with significant dollars. In a full house gathered at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, a standing ovation ensued following Gray’s announcement of a one-time $100 million dollar investment directed to affordable housing for the creation and preservation of 10,000 units.
While this is monumental for housing advocates, Bob Pullman, Director of the CNHED points out that it will take more than $100 million to support 10,000 units of affordable housing. The City Paper reported the coalition’s view towards the Mayor’s promise: Mayor Pledges One Time 100 million investment in affordable housing. Some District residents celebrate this success, including housing advocate, Michael Brown. Meanwhile, others continue to stigmatize affordable housing claiming new units will be crime-ridden and promptly turn into run-down ghettos. Comments made on the Post’s article: DC Mayor pushes 100 million investment plan for affordable housing clearly indicate there’s progress needed in helping District residents to understand the importance of affordable housing, especially the benefits of home ownership.
For those skeptical about the need for affordable housing, it is imperative for advocates to speak up. Affordable home ownership continues to be one of the best answers for crime prevention, increased educational opportunities, increased political participation and the ability for equity accumulation. HAT supports the Mayor in valuing both “haves and have-nots” in the District but find it essential for “have-nots” to have the ability to move within the Continuum of Housing if they desire to do so.