Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saving our homes: What we've done so far

The 1417 N St, NW (Norwood Tenant Association) was created in late 2005 when tenants decided to come together to discuss maintenance problems. As we began to organize, we learned that in order to reach our goals to improve living conditions we needed community support.

In order to reach our goals we:

  • Learned about bed bugs and how to exterminate them.
  • Started a bed bug collection fund among tenants so that we could purchase extermination chemicals to kill bed bugs.
  • Educated ourselves and tenants about how to detect and control bed bugs.
  • Filed three lawsuits (aka Tenant Petitions) against Fleetwood Management and our landlord in September of 2006. We filed two additional lawsuits in April 2007.
  • Wrote numerous letters to our landlord, management company, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, and DC city council members.
  • Reached out to the media to bring attention to the problems at the Norwood.
  • Learned about our rights as tenants by reaching out to the DC tenant advocacy organizations such as TENAC, the DC Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA), the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), and EmpowerDC.
We educated and empowered ourselves and came to the realization that we could also help other tenant associations throughout DC. We have shared our story by visiting other buildings that were being targeted for possible condo conversion. We met with various tenant associations and eventually we helped establish the District of Columbia Tenants Rights Alliance a coalition representing 20 buildings (and 1,000 families) throughout DC for protecting affordable housing.

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