Housing/urban Issues/Gentrification

Tenants facing mass eviction, rent hikes storm Bush Properties office

On the 25th of February, tenants from Museum Square and Mt Vernon Plaza backed by ONE DC and API Resistance showed up outside their landlord's office in Clarendon, VA. Originally the plan was to send a delegation inside to deliver their letter demanding an end to illegal attempts to intimidate tenants into moving out. The tenants themselves though had another idea, with almost the whole group essentially storming the building and taking over the lobby. Bush Properties accepted their letter, but the person taking denied that they were even at the right office. Organizers knew better than to buy that excuse but everyone marched back outside, chanting "we'll be back!"

Video from the Bush Properties tenant protest

Tenants drive home the "no mass evictions" message to Bush Properties

Bowser faces disruption and St E's demolition ceremony for sports stadium

On the 19th of February, two women with a banner disrupted Mayor Bowser's ceremonial appearance at the start of demolition of part of the old St Elizebeth's psychiatric hospital. They were able to get behind the Mayor's podium and shout her down before being dragged away by dozens of men. The site is slated for replacement by a new stadium for the Washington Mystic also to be used for practice by the Wizards. Once again, professional sports is allowed to demolish public property in DC.

Photo by DCist

Rich Ward 1 residents scream about proposed homeless shelter

On the 17th of February, FOX News pre-empted the crime coverage that usually starts their broadcast to focus on furious upscale residents at a Van Ness community meeting. The subject was Mayor Bowser's proposal to locate one of 8 dispersed homeless shelters in their neighborhood. Objections to opening a homeless shelter in upscale neighborhoods like anywhere in Ward 1 are usually based in NIMBYism (not in my back yard) fortified with an unhealthy heap of racism. In this case, there are legitimate questions about Mayor Bowser's objectives, given her police raids on homeless camps and her seeming belief that more arrests,searches, and police harassment can solve any social problem.

Homeless memorial Vigil and marches remember 41 who died on the streets

On the 17th of December, the 3ed annual Homeless Memorial Vigil began with an event at Luther Place church followed by a march through traffic to Freedom Plaza. At Freedom Plaza activists and homeless residents are sleeping overnight across from Mayor Bowser's offices. This event remembers 41 homeless people who have died on DC streets this year and is demanding an end to the raids ("sweeps") on emcampments and full funding for the Homeward DC housing program

Video from the Dec 17 march in evening rush hour

Video from the Dec 18 casket march

The Dec 17 march

Marching to remember 41 homeless who died this year in DC

Gentrifying Congress Heights slumlord gets protest at his Cleveland Park home

Developer Geoff Griffis of City Partners is working with Sanford Capital's Congress Heights redevelopment project that seeks to replace the Congress Heights apartments on Alabama Ave in Anacostia with a "mixed use" project of condos, retail and office space. Since he got control of the buildings, all maintainance has stopped on the buildings in an effort to force tenants to move. On Dec 16, community organizers, tenants of Congress Heights, and their supporters descended on Geoff Griffis' posh Cleveland Park home to object in front of his neighbors to his illegal attempts to prevent tenants from buying the buildings and staying put.

Video highlights of the protest(2min 37 sec)

Gentrifying slumlord gets protesters at his house

DC government raids Va Ave tent city for second time

On the 3rd of December in mid-afternoon, a trash truck and work crew were seen at the former Va Ave/Rock Creek Parkway tent city site. No tents remained and what appeared to be people's belongings were being loaded into the trash truck. It appeared that all campers had been driven off earlier in the day. A few days ago, twelve campers were reported to be still waiting for city promised apartments, unknown if every camper got one or not.

Mayor Bowser begins raids on homeless camps

On the 20th of November, Mayor Bowser carried out her threat to begin DPW "cleanup" raids on homeless camps with an attack on the camp in Rock Creek Park near Va Ave. A trash truck, a box truck, and a shelter van were brought in, along with at least one police van for security. Recent Dept of Justice opinions opposing prosecution of the homeless may have deterred forcible removal, but it was clear that some belongings other than the tents were either being thrown in the trash or hauled away to a government warehouse. As of 7PM, many tents were still standing, and it appeared that most residents had refused the Mayor's demands to move to city-controlled shelters. The shelters are known for everything from metal detectors to bedbugs, and some refuse to use them.

Proposed $600/month rent hike at Mt Vernon Plaza apartments draws protest vigil

Mt Vernon Plaza at 10th and M sts is owned by Bush Construction Companies, the same VA landlord who is seeking to evict all residents of Museum Square in Chinatown. At Mt Vernon Plaza Bush is attempting to shake down tenants for an extra $600 a month in rent, a 50% increase. On the 26th of October, tenants held a vigil outside reinforced by activists from the Black Lives Matter movement and other community activists. Bush Construction Companies was warned that evictions would require carrying people-including community activists-physically out of the building.

Video-Reverend Hagler speaking on gentrification and displacement as racism-including a direct comparison to the displacement of and theft of land from Native Americans

Rev Hagler at Mt Vernon Plaza

Museum Square residents defy landlord's deadline, take over Chinatown streets

Museum Square owner Bush Properties has defied DC law and told residents of Museum Square at 401 K street that they would no longer participate in Section 8, instead issuing vouchers they demanded be used elsewhere and asking them to be out by Oct 1. On the last day of September, at least half the building backed by supporters from as far away as Boston instead participated in a rally defying these demands and emphasising they intended to exercise their legal right to stay put. Furious with Bush Properties for illegally refusing to accept their vouchers, residents took to the streets, but not in the way Bush Properties had hoped.

Update Oct 1 4PM: Bush Properties now reported to be accepting the "enhanced" vouchers one day after protest and expiration of deadline.

Video highlights of the march plus analysis

THIS is now the way Bush Properties intended to put their tenants in the streets!

Chinatown rising against mass eviction

Overflow crowd at BB&P event to save Museum Square from mass eviction

Museum Square at 4th and K sts NW is one of the last affordable housing projects in Chinatown, containing nearly half the remaining Chinese community there plus many African-American residents. The owner of the building (Bush Properties in Va) wants to replace it with condos and luxury apartments for the rich. As part of the campaign to save the building and block the evictions, Busboys and Poets at nearby 5th and K st, held a party for Museum Square residents and supporters on July 20. The room was packed to standing room only.