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Housing.

From condos to co-ops to apartments to group houses to single family homes; from publicly (and sometimes privately) run public housing to multi-million dollar homes and condos, housing in the District runs the gamut. Although a multitude of new housing has been created in the city in the last decade, it has not always served all DC residents. We need to continue to build new housing, but we also need to make sure that our long-time residents are not forced out by unacceptable conditions and high property taxes.

Workforce Housing: We need to create an affordable opportunity to own a home in the District of Columbia.  A workforce housing program—overseen by a Workforce Housing Commission — would offer affordable condominiums and row houses to home buyers with household incomes between 50 percent and 120 percent of the Washington D.C. area median income. Workforce housing units would be sold at below market sales prices, which would be determined by the commission. Priority would be given to teachers, nurses, first responders and service industry employees. The commission would also seek to create specialized housing units (co-ops) designed specifically for teachers or artists where in addition to homes, the space would provide a collaborative environment to share ideas (and work space for artists).

Enforcement: We must enforce our housing codes. D.C.’s tenant rights law is one of the strongest in the nation, on paper. Renters have the right to approve apartment-to-condominium conversions and require landlords to pay a fee on the sale of new condominium units to help uprooted families find new homes. Too often, landlords have been able to circumvent these rule. Negligent property owners must be prosecuted and fines collected. We need a court-appointed receiver with broad latitude to address housing code infractions. The receiver could also seek to use money from rent payments to make repairs. Landlords who refuse repairs should not only face fines but could also be held in contempt of court.

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