Transparency | Accountability | Integrity | Service
A Rhonda Hamilton Policy Position Statement on Housing:
As the cost of living in DC has gone up, not everyone’s salaries have kept up with DC’s growth. This means longtime DC community members are now priced out of neighborhoods they used to be able to afford. More than 55% of DC citizens are housing cost burdened. We have an immediate need for affordable housing, and the city currently has not made it a priority to make more options available for All DC residents.
As recently as June 2022 local news media sources have reported that DC has an estimated 40,000 citizens on its District of Columbia's Housing Authority waitlist.
"DCHA’s housing waitlist is the only centralized place where low-income D.C. residents can go to apply for help with securing affordable housing. The waitlist has been closed since 2013 due to the high volume of applicants. DCHA housed 1,557 people on the waitlist in fiscal year 2021 and another 613 so far in FY 2022, according to the agency’s oversight responses to the D.C. Council. The agency is still pulling people into housing who originally applied in early 2004."
Produced by Street Sense Media and The DC Line. "dcist", June 24, 2022
My administration intends to fund the construction of hundreds of deeply affordable, income-restricted units, which will benefit citizens who qualify for subsidized housing. Additionally, my administration intends to audit the existing housing "waitlist" to determine its accuracy, and to develop a more efficient manner to get DC families sufficiently housed. DC also needs housing options for residents who make too much to qualify for subsidized housing, but not enough to afford the high costs of DC housing today.This will ensure that as new homes and condos are built, more affordable homes and condos are built too, which will also provide more housing for our DC workforce, who may not qualify for subsidized housing.
- By requiring affordable housing in all new residential developments
- By increasing the “linkage fee,” which funds city investment into future affordable housing, to bring DC more in line with other national cities that are successfully combatting affordable housing circumstances in their city.
- By providing incentives to help offset the cost of including more affordability in a project.
Recognizing that no set of regulations can anticipate every conceivable situation to which an ordinance may apply, it is anticipated that these initiatives and rules may be amended or supplemented as needed.
Housing Stability Plan:
The Hamilton administration's housing stability plan will aim to build a healthy, housed, and connected District of Columbia. We will invest resources, create policy, and partner with organizations to keep people in the homes they already live in, to quickly resolve any experience of homelessness, and to consistently connect people to affordable housing opportunities.
- By stabilizing people at risk of involuntary displacement, and by connecting them to accountable housing resources.
- By creating and preserving existing affordable housing.
- Connecting residents at any income level to new housing opportunities.
“Peer" navigation plays a key role in providing motivation, and encouragement for those facing the many challenges of homelessness. My administration understands the importance of having peer navigators embedded throughout the city to foster trusting relationships between homelessness service providers, and households.
My administration will deploy peer navigation efforts to assist DC residents residing in shelters, or unsheltered settings. Our efforts will aim at providing supportive services that will be connected to applicable benefits, identifying areas of opportunity to fill housing gaps, overcome barriers, and assist with housing associated resources.
By providing this level of engagement, and support, peer navigators will aim to address core goals, and targets to address sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families. Expanding pathways through various systems to successfully rehoming citizens by utilizing all available, applicable resources whether from the private sector, or on the local, and federal levels.
RH4DC Mayor Peer Navigation Initiative
Peer navigation is a best practice for homelessness service providers which utilizes individuals with past lived experiences of homelessness to assist those who are currently unhoused. Many service providers currently employ peer navigators, whose shared personal experience serves as evidence of pathways to housing, improved health, and stability.
There are currently too many homeless individuals and families residing in DC streets, cars, abandoned properties, inadequate shelters, and dangerously sleeping in laundromats, existing apartment and governmental hallways & building settings.
As an advocate for the people, specializing in mental wellness practices, and awareness, my administration will aim to clean-up the District's mishandling and negligent recognition of the presence of debilitating social, and health determinants that have intricately woven themselves into the current ongoing housing "state of emergency" for far too many households and District residents.
Citizen led Slumlord Reform
One such determinant is the presence of "slumlord" realities absent of accountable, transparent, and proper oversight from appointed District agencies, and elected officials. Tenant led housing associations and individuals will be encouraged to initiate immediate "rental stoppages", and civil justice "corrective action" community-signed petitions representing the existence of violations to the DC "Tenant Bill of Rights"
Upon receipt of any such action, my administration will immediately summon the DC Council to set applicable tenant included hearings, as well as require that the Office of the Attorney General act with the appropriate statement of accountability or intent to enforce the law on behalf of District housing violated citizens.