Groups that do renter advocacy including the Latino Economic Development Center and the D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America have scheduled a town hall Saturday to work toward establishing a “citywide tenant union.” The town hall will take place at All Souls Unitarian Church—at 1500 Harvard Street NW—in Columbia Heights, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“All DC tenants are invited to join us to learn how to organize their neighbors, advocate for pro-tenant policies, and fight back against slumlords’ abuse and neglect,” the organizers say on a Facebook page for the event. “Leaders from tenant associations from Congress Heights to Cathedral Heights will gather at All Souls Church in Columbia Heights to celebrate our victories in the past year, discuss our vision for the city, form neighborhood-based chapters, an[d] elect leaders for a new organization.” Over 100 people have indicated they will attend.
LEDC & tenants from across DC are coming together for the 2019 Tenant Town Hall this Sat., July 20. Come out & support residents that are working hard to preserve safe, decent, & affordable housing in DC. This year, they're launching a TENANT UNION!— LEDC (@ledcmetro) July 16, 2019
RSVP: https://t.co/BtfSNqxn5m pic.twitter.com/ooSbYRUFex
Ever been scammed out of your security deposit? Waited months for your landlord to make repairs? Put most of your paycheck towards rent? Come check out DC’s CITYWIDE TENANT UNION townhall: https://t.co/gm2GfK9kDe— Stomp Out Slumlords! (@StompSlumlords) July 16, 2019
DC renters/tenants!— ROC-DC (@ROCDC) July 5, 2019
Join the launch of a citywide tenants' union on July 20!
All Souls Church on Harvard in Columbia Heights. Free food, childcare, Spanish & Amharic interpretation available! https://t.co/REyuUL7P7W
Join @ledcmetro Saturday at 12 @AllSoulsUUDC to launch a citywide tenants union. Let's build tenant voices for better, affordable housing in DC!https://t.co/AMidPPc0pC— The Festival Center (@FestivalDC) July 16, 2019
While an official citywide tenant union does not yet exist in D.C., there are numerous tenant associations based at multifamily buildings. The D.C government also has a tenant advocate office that helps tenants navigate issues like rent control, housing conditions, and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, a 1980 District law that permits tenants to acquire their homes.
The town hall comes as housing prices remain high and development continues apace in D.C. Recent studies show that the city has seen some of the most intense gentrification in the U.S., and that many low-income households in the District struggle to obtain family-sized housing.