Farah Fosse just bought a home in Petworth, but it wasn’t easy. The place she wanted also drew the interest of several developers, who offered cash up front for the place.

“Ultimately the owner wanted to sell it to a real person, so she accepted my offer even though it was lower than the developers,” she said.

Fosse was well prepared to deal with one of D.C.’s most quickly changing housing markets. Her work with the Latino Economic Development Corporation has focused on preserving affordable units for Latino families in Petworth, pushed north from Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan by rising housing costs.

To read the full article exploring how renters in Petworth are working to preserve affordable housing in the area, click here.

In the District of Columbia, the journey that many residents embark upon to ensure they have a decent, affordable place to live for the future often starts with a finely-worded letter and a 45-day window of opportunity.

For Lynn Welters and Oscar Moreno – presidents of the Brightwood Gardens Cooperative and the 1333 Euclid St NW Tenants Association, respectively – both received the letter explaining that their apartment buildings had been put up for sale and that they had 45 days to respond and declare their intention to take control of their housing.

For Lynn, it was an opportunity to save the home where she had lived since the age of 11 with her parents. For Oscar, it was a chance to save the home where he had lived for almost 10 years and continue living in the neighborhood.   (more…)


July 7, 2011

Contact: Lead Tenant Organizer Anna Duncan (for Columbia Heights)
Director of Affordable Housing Preservation Farah Fosse (for Petworth)
(202) 590-4320, (202) 590-4369
aduncan@ledcmetro.org; fosse@ledcmetro.org

Reality Tour to Show Results of Gentrification and Community Organizing in Columbia Heights and Petworth

WASHINGTON – On Monday, July 11th, residents of Columbia Heights and Petworth will open their homes to share stories of their struggles to preserve affordable housing in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. Washington, D.C. is the only city in the country with a unique law (the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, or TOPA) that gives tenants the right to determine what happens to their apartment building when it is for sale. The Before and After Neighborhood Tour will visit four multi-family buildings (two where residents utilized TOPA to buy their buildings and convert them into affordable cooperatives, and two apartment buildings where tenants are trying to purchase) to meet with residents and hear their unique stories. DC’s tenant purchase program is one of the major focuses of this year’s Fourth Annual Citywide Tenant Town Hall, on Saturday, July 16th at 2:30 pm at First Trinity Lutheran Church (309 E St NW, near Judiciary Square).

WHAT: Before and After Neighborhood Tour of Columbia Heights and Petworth

BEFORE: Hear from tenants who live in run-down apartment buildings that are for sale and who are organizing to prevent their displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods.

AFTER: See newly renovated, affordable housing co-ops where long-term neighborhood residents are now owners!

WHERE: 1st stop: 710 Jefferson St NW
2nd stop: Brightwood Gardens Cooperative – 941 Longfellow St NW
3rd stop: 1333 Euclid St NW
4th stop: Quest Cooperative – 1428 Euclid St NW

WHEN: Monday, July 11th, 5 to 7 PM
Meet at 710 Jefferson St NW at 5 pm; we’ll walk to 941 Longfellow St NW (2 blocks),
then drive to 1333 Euclid St NW (or meet there at 6 PM), then walk to 1428 Euclid St NW (1 block).

WHO: Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), Save Our Safety Net, 710 Jefferson St NW Tenants’ Association, Brightwood Gardens Cooperative Association, 1333 Euclid St NW Tenants’ Association, Quest Cooperative Association


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