CREATING AND DEFENDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Kenyan understands the importance of protecting, creating, and preserving affordable housing for District residents, He will fight to preserve and expand access to affordable housing, including by ensuring that developers fulfill their legal obligations and commitments to build and preserve affordable housing under laws ushered in by Kenyan as the Ward 5 Councilmember on the DC Council.
As your next At-Large Councilmember, Kenyan will continue to level the playing field by prioritizing tenants’ rights and encouraging the development of mixed-income housing across the city that serves all communities.
Creating Affordable Housing:
The DC Government is the largest landowner in the District. When DC sells land to private developers, it presents a tremendous opportunity to create more housing, including affordable housing with that property. Kenyan wrote and passed a law ensuring that every sale of DC-owned land to private developers requires the new project to include affordable housing for lower-income households. As a result, thousands of DC residents can enjoy affordable housing in new developments across the city. As an At-Large Councilmember, Kenyan will support the development of more housing across the city to preserve and encourage inclusive, mixed-income communities.
Funding and Preserving Affordable Housing: DC’s most effective tool in creating and preserving affordable housing – the Housing Production Trust Fund – requires robust, dedicated funding. Kenyan authored legislation and successfully fought to make sure that the District dedicates half of all future surplus funds to the DC Housing Production Trust Fund, providing hundreds of millions of dollars to help build, renovate, and preserve affordable housing units. As an At-Large Councilmember, he will work to preserve and create more affordable housing and continue to be a strong advocate for affordable housing in this new role.
Protecting Tenants’ Rights:
Most low-income tenants arrive at housing court without an attorney when they are faced with an eviction. Landlords come to housing court 90% of the time with a lawyer, while low-income tenants are represented in less than 10% of cases. This puts tenants at an incredible disadvantage. That’s why Kenyan authored the Expanding Access to Justice Act and created the “Civil Gideon” program, which provides low-income residents with free legal representation in landlord-tenant court. While residents can now receive the representation that they need in housing court, Kenyan will also advocate for tenants by holding landlords accountable for unlawful evictions and uninhabitable housing conditions.
Ending Housing Discrimination Based on Criminal and Arrest Records:
Historically, landlords in the District had been allowed to arbitrarily deny tenants housing based on arrest records or prior convictions. One in every ten individuals who become incarcerated have recently been homeless, and many of those returning citizens end up returning home with no place to live.. That’s why Kenyan authored and passed a law to prohibit landlords from inquiring or asking any questions related to a prospective tenant’s criminal background or arrest history at any time prior to making a conditional offer of housing to the applicant. The law helps people facing criminal charges and those overcoming the challenges of re-entry to secure housing. As an At-Large Councilmember, Kenyan will continue to fight against housing discrimination and to ensure meaningful housing and job opportunities for returning citizens.