Legislative Record - Affordable Housing
Since joining the Council, Kenyan has delivered on promises to increase funding and the supply of affordable housing, strengthen tenants’ rights and help eliminate barriers to housing.
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.
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.
Protecting Tenants’ Rights: Most low-income tenants arrive to 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.
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.