I was one of 163 public witnesses who signed up to testify at the November 9 D.C. Council Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization hearing on the Rent Stabilization Program Reform and Expansion Amendment Act of 2020, an “omnibus” bill that would dramatically reshape the city’s rent control laws and close many loopholes that allow D.C. residents to be priced out of their housing. This is what I told our local legislators:
Dear Councilmember Anita Bonds:
My name is Angie Whitehurst, a resident of the District of Columbia and a native Washingtonian.
This email is in support of rental reform and economic compassion for not any specific legislation, but across the board.
We, by which I mean all the people living and working in the District of Columbia, are most of us in various levels of financial crisis — a crisis of survival. Let us not be so deluded as to act as if people have bottomless pots of money at the end of a nonexistent rainbow.
We needed rent reform decades before the financial crisis of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty percent of our population are renters. Two-thirds spend their income on rent. We need rent reform and emergency economic compassion for housing, shelters, rent and struggling residential households with unmanageable mortgages — this means for both the payees and payers (although not the slum landlords, investors, and avaricious business wheeler dealers).
To not take action is to put the almighty dollar before the life, health and welfare of human beings, the most valuable resource of our city.
The pursuit of happiness as in wealth, property maintenance and acquisition is discriminatory and unacceptable when basic human survival is so fragile locally, nationally and globally.
Do not add to evictions, displacement, homelessness, poverty and further erosion beyond re-gentrification. The District of Columbia is not a business, it is an organized and legislated community of people.
Reform the rent
Do the number one job
Serve the people
Angie Whitehurst is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.