In spite of the rain, over 75 people rallied today with the Housing For All Campaign and the Fair Budget Coalition to call for more affordable housing in the District! Participants took to the streets in the rain holding umbrellas and colorful signs that said “I’m still waiting” and “honk for affordable housing” in front of the DC Housing Authority’s office on busy North Capitol Street. Hundreds of drivers honked in appreciation. (Check out the slideshow for more pictures)
Reggie, one of today’s rally attendees, has been staying with his mother while raising his son since first getting on the DC Housing Authority waitlist in 1998. He profoundly expressed the vision of so many residents saying, “All we want is a place to rest our heads, a safe neighborhood with good schools for our kids.” He hopes to send his teenage son to college, but worries that he will continue to be unable to afford a place himself. The DC Housing Authority recently suspended applications for their waiting list, saying there are over 70,000 households currently on the list; for a family like Reggie’s, this translates to a 22 year wait for a two-bedroom apartment!
The DC Council can do more to ensure affordable housing for everyone. The time to encourage them is now, as they consider the budget for next year (Fiscal Year 2014). Mayor Gray proposed $100 million for affordable housing production and preservation – the DC Council should support these programs – like the Housing Production Trust Fund which will keep and produce hundreds of units of affordable housing. The Council should also fund programs that meet the immediate needs of residents like Reggie. Investments in tenant-based Local Rent Supplement Program would allow people to access vouchers and get permanent affordable housing quickly. The Housing First program can address chronic homelessness in our city.
Today’s rally was just the first step towards getting the DC Council to pass a budget with Housing For All. Stay involved! Learn more and get ready to testify with us! Learn more here.