The DC Council Bill to Combat Displacement

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


  1. JSM said at 5:46 pm on Thursday June 2, 2016:
    This NEEDS to happen. I'm from chevy chase and have always put my privilege on check since growing up in DC. As an urban studies major, I can tell you this NEEDS to happen. Affordable housing only happens in one single way and that is municipality intervention aka it is done through policy; no single developer will ever take a hit (lose money) to build affordable housing, ever. Facts. Developers seek the highest profits for the lowest costs (everyone knows this)...If they had the chance to not allocate any percentage of affordable housing, they would in a heartbeat. My point is, DC is changing rapidly and is not slowing down. Affordable housing should have been a hot topic in 2012. When redevelopments kicked off and the white people, who are not from the DMV, started moving into NE. These are facts, not just a rant. DC went from 70% black to less than 48% and the only population that rose was white and it rose in NE and SW. Now these neighborhoods are getting upscaled from top-down and bottom-up, but they're heading down a pathway that has zero to no care about social issues. I have conducted a dot density map using GIS and DC census data, if anyone really cares to fact check me.
  1. Toby said at 8:22 pm on Thursday June 2, 2016:
    "and the white people, who are not from the DMV, started moving into NE..." - why are you assuming that those of us who moved to NE aren't from the DMV? I've lived in the District for over 25 years and two years ago moved from Woodley Park to Ft. Totten. Many of my new neighbors are also from the District but moved over to NE because it's more affordable.
  1. Robert said at 9:15 pm on Friday June 3, 2016:
    JSM really? Wow, that is some self righteous nonsense. Is it really horrible to have a more diverse city? If you look at the census data the black population total did not decrease significantly, the white population just significantly increased. This caused the total population to go up as well. I strongly believe its important to have a diverse community and this includes all races of people. Exposure to other upbringings and background is key to a great city and better society.

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