Equipping Latinos and other DC-area residents with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities.
On Wednesday, DC Mayor Vincent Gray celebrated commitments from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to support residents working together to preserve the long-term affordability of their homes and communities using the District's Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).
The eight projects highlighted by the Mayor include six buildings where LEDC has worked with low- to moderate-income residents to exercise their TOPA rights to keep their rental housing affordable and avoid displacement in communities under development.
Valencia Apartments: 5922 13th St. NW
Vizcaya Apartments: 1388 Tuckerman St. NW
Concord Apartments: 5807 14th St. NW
7611 and 7701 Georgia Ave. NW Tenants Association
1919 Calvert St. NW Tenants Association
In return for assigning their legal right to purchase their apartment buildings under TOPA to a new owner, tenant associations negotiated agreements to ensure the continued affordability of their homes, building renovations, and a responsive and professional management team. In all of these buildings, the tenant associations researched, interviewed and ultimately chose a new owner for the building.
So why does this matter? 236 families live in these six buildings. These families have the opportunity to stay in their buildings and avoid displacement, as well as preserve long-term housing affordability in their neighborhoods – many of which have gentrified or are on the cusp of redevelopment. In a city that lost half of its low-cost rental units from 2000-2010, these 236 families will not become casualties of DC’s affordable housing crisis.
As part of the preparation process, tenant leaders participated in LEDC’s Tenant Leadership Program to learn how to engage their neighbors to preserve affordable housing and connect with key decision makers in charge of affordable housing funding and policy.
“We are not just fighting for our building but every apartment building in Washington DC that is up for sale,” said Helen Ortiz, president of the 7701 Georgia Avenue NW Tenants Association. "We want to stay here given all the years that we have lived here.”
The need for additional funds for tenant purchase continues as new development continues across the city. LEDC is now working with an additional 7 buildings and 90 families soon to apply for TOPA funds. LEDC thanks the Gray administration and DHCD for its commitments and urges the Mayor and the City Council to adequately fund the Housing Production Trust Fund to create more opportunity for DC residents facing possible displacement in the future.
LEDC is proud to announce that accountant Damaris Mirza and attorney Yvette Retamoza have joined the LEDC Board of Directors. Damaris is an Audit Senior-in-Charge with Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, P.C. and Yvette works on the Global Law Affairs team for The Boeing Company.
Damaris graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in Finance. She also completed a Certificate in International Business. Having chosen the public accounting field, Damaris has been involved in a variety of audit and tax work and has focused primarily on working with the not-for-profit community. With 11 years of public accounting experience she has proven to be a knowledgeable professional who strives for excellence in her work. Her extensive experience includes audits, reviews, compilations, and tax return preparation for business, individuals, not-for-profit and fiduciary entities. Damaris grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Yvette Retamoza is an attorney with experience working internationally, including in El Salvador on a large energy development project and in Tokyo, Japan for Boeing. Yvette has a law degree with a focus in Environmental Law and a Masters of Law in International Business and Economic Law, and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.
Yvette grew up in a bilingual household, raised by parents who emigrated from Mexico to the Salinas Valley in California. Yvette has also studied in Brazil and Quebec, Canada and is proficient in Portuguese and French. She is passionate about economic development and recognizes the critical role of both multinational companies and small businesses to driving economic development in the community. In her free time, she also volunteers at the National Zoo and with Girls Inc. of the Central Coast.
On Tuesday, November 26th, LEDC’s Wheaton office will relocate from its current location at 2405 Price Avenue.
LEDC’s new address in Wheaton will be:
11002 Veirs Mill Road
Wheaton, MD 20902
Our new office is located in the Westfield South building. Please contact us at 202-540-7400 if you have any questions.
Director of Communications and Advocacy