By Brigette White, Special to the AFRO
The District is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis with the median price of a one-bedroom apartment $1,310 per month and a two-bedroom going for $1,520 according to Apartmentlist.com.
“For many families, rent is a financial burden that adversely affects their economic well-being, which is often tenuous at best, as an unexpected drop in income could easily lead to eviction,” according to an analysis on the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site.
Renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent and in some cases more than 50 percent according to an analysis of rental data by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Eviction rates are disproportionately high in Black communities compared to other races. Many of the long standing minority residents can no longer afford to live in the city.
Several candidates running for District offices say they have the solution.
Among those names on the ballot this primary election is Marcus Goodwin who grew up between the District’s Wards 1 and 8 on Kenyon St NW and Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE.
“Growing up in Columbia Heights we saw people coming to my mother’s door every day asking to buy our house for all cash, but below the true value of the property. It’s tempting to accept these offers which were often targeted at minority property owners. This is the reason a lot of Black homeowners have been deprived of their true equity value and the community has gentrified,” said Goodwin.
Goodwin, an at-large candidate for the D.C.-council, is geared up for battle against strong incumbents Democrat Anita Bonds and independent Elissa Silverman.
The 28-year-old candidate said he is ready for this race because he is accustomed to healthy competition, as he was a student athlete at St. Albans school before pursuing higher education at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
“I was a football player, a wrestler and a track athlete. I played football in college,” Goodwin told the AFRO.
Goodwin, an economic development professional with a background in real estate and Wall Street, said he is armed with the ability to attack the District’s housing crisis having served on the Jim Graham campaign during the summer of 2008 and learned from former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, while working in the office of Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos Young before making his bid.
“I understand economics, community development, and urban planning,” said Goodwin.
Goodwin has already successfully improved housing developments to build apartments with more than the standard amount of affordable units in them.
“I’m committed to stopping the wave of displacement that has washed over the city by providing and creating more affordable housing for property owners and renters, as well as proposing tax reform bills that will help people afford to stay in place,” said Goodwin.