The District lost 50 percent of its low-cost rental housing between 2000 and 2010, according to a study released last week by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. This significant loss of affordable housing, coupled with rising housing costs and stagnant wages for the bottom 40 percent of D.C. households, has created an affordable housing crisis for many low-income District residents. Indeed, in order to retain affordable housing, many residents have lived in substandard conditions and endured repeated struggles with their landlords to obtain necessary repairs. A recent article in the Washington Post documents the struggles that some D.C. families have had to maintain safe, habitable, affordable housing.
The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute’s study was a sobering account of a distressed rental housing market that we routinely see Legal Aid’s clients struggle to navigate.