Curbed DC: New D.C. bill seeks to prevent gentrification and displacement in ‘high-risk’ neighborhoods

Curbed DC, June 11, 2019: New D.C. bill seeks to prevent gentrification and displacement in ‘high-risk’ neighborhoods

Since 2000, the District has experienced the most intense gentrification and an outsized amount of resident displacement among American cities, according to recent research—changes that have predominately affected black and low-income residents in a city once dubbed “Chocolate City.” Now, new legislation by Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, who represents many Southeast neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, aims to stem such changes by providing targeted services and funds in “high-risk displacement areas.”

White introduced the “East of the River High-Risk Displacement Prevention Services and Fund Establishment Act of 2019” last week at the D.C. Council’s June 4 meeting. The bill would create a city grant fund for legal services to help curb evictions, improve housing conditions and protect rental subsidies. The fund would also support tenant associations and advisory neighborhood commissions, and expand foreclosure-prevention assistance.

“The harm that displacement and gentrification is having on our city is too great to be ignored,” White said in proposing the legislation. “People are being forced out of their communities and their neighborhoods.”

One recent study cited by White, by the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, found that over 38% of D.C. residents live in economically growing census tracts, in which low-income families are at the greatest risk of displacement. Another study cited by the Ward 8 councilmember, by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, concluded that about 40% of D.C.’s lower-income neighborhoods were gentrified between 2000 and 2013.

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