There is a serious housing affordability crisis in the United States, and particularly in larger metropolitan areas like Washington, DC. In DC, like much of the rest of the country, we know this affordability crisis is most acute for the lowest income renters. These issues also disproportionately affect Black renters, due in large part to years of structural oppression in housing and lending practices. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, low-income Black renters will be the hardest hit if the District or federal government does not enact a rent freeze.
My participation in the Policy Innovation Lab at McCourt has allowed me to focus on these urgent issues that affect so many of our fellow Washingtonians. In DC, concerns around rising affordability are coupled with some of the highest levels of gentrification-fueled displacement in the nation. Wards 7 and 8, east of the Anacostia River, represent the last frontiers of development in DC. As development gets underway in parts of Wards 7 and 8, many are asking who it will be for. There has been a growing push, both nationally and in DC, for planning and development to seriously engage with resident and community concerns.