The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Washington, D.C.:
Poor Pushed Out of Housing

Jun 7, 2021

Three generations of residents of the Brookland Manor apartment complex in Washington, D.C. protested on May 27 against the landlord’s plans to add over 2,000 expensive, small apartments and replace hundreds of existing large units with small ones.

Brookland Manor’s private owner MidCity Financial recently paid off a federal loan which for decades had required the company to lease to poor people whose rent was paid mostly by federal or city voucher programs. This meant steady income for MidCity, but now the company is free to squeeze much higher amounts of rent from the property. The city government plans to borrow 47 million dollars to pay toward MidCity’s construction costs—free money for the developer, with no requirement to provide voucher housing.

MidCity promises to reserve hundreds of new units for rent-subsidized households, and to let existing tenants have them. But months ago, MidCity fenced off the yards and the pool area and had security guards write people up for even touching the fences.

At the protest, residents said this is part of a campaign to force long-time tenants—many with children—to leave, so the company won’t have to give their families new apartments after the redevelopment. And MidCity plans not to provide a basketball court or park in the new complex, even though tenants have requested them.

Housing in the D.C. area is increasingly unaffordable for working-class people. The shameless displacement at Brookland Manor is just the tip of the iceberg.