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The DC Council Bill to Combat Displacement

  • June 2, 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

Good Hope and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE
Good Hope and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE

In light of potential large-scale development East of the River and the upcoming elections of councilmembers At-Large and in Wards 7 and 8, a lot of conversation in the community has centered around ensuring that current residents of those wards are able to enjoy the redevelopment rather than be displaced by it.

One way that the DC Council has responded to this concern is with the introduction of the Displacement Prevention Amendment Act of 2016. Proposed in early April by At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May, the bill will designate displacement risk zones to target additional tax relief and resources via a newly-established Displacement Prevention Assistance Fund.

If the bill is enacted, residents of displacement risk zones will be able to potentially double their Schedule H tax credits starting in 2019. The established fund would administer competitive grants to nonprofits to be used to enforce housing codes and otherwise offer residents assistance to prevent their displacement, be it through legal counseling on tenants’ rights, negotiations with landlords, foreclosure intervention, or creating tenant associations.

The bill identifies the portion of Congress Heights surrounding St. Elizabeth’s as the first displacement risk zone, with the idea that other risk zones will be identified as needed.

Over half of the city’s councilmembers have co-sponsored the bill and a notice of Intent to Act was filed in the DC Register. It is currently under review by the council and is still subject to mayoral and congressional approval if passed.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_dc_council_bill_to_combat_displacement/11300

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