Author Archive for: HANDProgramManager

Why HAND Chose to Place Racial Equity at the Center of Our Work

June 4, 2020
June 4, 2020

Without equivocation, HAND’s Board of Directors & Staff decries the manifestations of white supremacy and systemic racism upon which this country was founded and prevails today. Black lives matter. We say the names of our brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short in senseless brutality. We stand with their families in solidarity and affirm our commitment to remain dogged in our pursuit for justice.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Philando Castile. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. Korryn Gaines. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Shantel Davis. Trayvon Martin. Botham Jean. Their lives matter. Yet, there are countless others.

Prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment, black lives were merely a fraction — an assigned value of three-fifths to be exact. Minimal progress has occurred to fully recognize and value black life. Four hundred years have passed, and black people are still fighting for their humanity, their freedom, their equality and now their survival. This country’s collective knee is still on the collective neck of black communities. All the while, a pandemic remains a lethal threat for people of color whose bodies have borne the burden of chronic disinvestment, active neglect, and continued insult resulting in toxic trauma and unrelenting stress and pain.

We remain committed to organizing you – our members, around an agenda focused on real paths toward a racially just and equitable region. We must rise to this moment. We must not be silent, rather boldly affirm our commitment to dismantle this vicious system of inequity.

HAND members last saw each other in person in March, when Dr. Ibram Kendi offered words for our racial equity cohort to reflect on. Today they seem to be more timely than ever:

“We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, that lead to racist policies,” Kendi said. “If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, love and persuasion… The actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self- interest, particularly economic and political and cultural.” Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there.”

Join us, HAND Members. Join us, as we rise up to meet this moment.

HAND Board of Directors & Staff

Let us rise to this moment.
Warning: some of the content below contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.
  I just wanna live  
  CNN commentator tears up over George Floyd's death: It's hard to be black in this country Zianna Oliphant gives a heartfelt speech about what's going on in the world  
  Must watch: Woman gives powerful speech to looters on streets of NYC U.S. flag drenched in blood  


Montgomery County Passes COVID-19 Renter Relief Act

April 29, 2020
April 29, 2020

Montgomery County Council passed  “The COVID-19 Renter Relief Act”, effective April 24, 2020, which prohibits landlords from increasing existing tenants’ rent by more than 2.6% after April 24 and during the COVID-19 catastrophic health emergency signed by the Governor of Maryland on March 5, 2020.

“This bill is an important step in helping our Montgomery County residents during this difficult time,” Councilmember Jawando said. “We have yet to know the full damage that will occur as a result of Covid-19 or what the actual recovery will be like for those who have lost jobs and their income. Our residents deserve the stability of knowing that their housing is protected. Today the Council has sent a strong message that our renters cannot be taken advantage of during this health crisis.”

Learn more on Montgomery County’s website.

RFP Notice: The Housing Authority of Prince George’s County

February 7, 2020
February 7, 2020

The Housing Authority of Prince George’s County (HAPGC) is soliciting proposals (RFP 2020-01) from experienced law firms and solo practitioners to provide legal services for the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County, Maryland. 

The Request for Proposals, including scope of work, instructions for submission and evaluation criteria are available at: Housing Authority of Prince George’s County, 9200 Basil Court, Suite 500, Largo, Maryland 20774 or by contacting Josephine Clay, Special Assistant to the Executive Director via email at: . 

The Request for Proposal is also available on HAPGC’s website beginning January 23, 2020. The deadline for submission is February 24, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. 

DC Comprehensive Plan Update

January 23, 2020
January 23, 2020

HAND Members & Stakeholders –

If you’ve been following along with our Regional Activations, you’ll know that the last quarter of 2019 was pretty eventful! In October, HAND, and its fellow members of the DC Housing Priorities Coalition, successfully advocated for key amendments that ensure affordable housing and the prevention of displacement are priorities of the DC Comprehensive (Comp) Plan. A recap can be found on our website.

As the primary document that guides what and where development occurs in the District for the next few decades, the DC Comp Plan has the power to stem the tide of economic and residential segregation. Mayor Bowser and the DC Office of Planning issued a draft Comprehensive Plan that, if approved, is a step in the right direction towards greater equity and opportunity.

Most recently, HAND sent a letter to the Office of Planning with comments to the last draft update. This letter emphasized HAND’s support of the amended Framework Element of the Comprehensive Plan as passed by the DC Council in October 2019, including its acknowledgement of the need for increased affordable housing and protections against displacement.

Learn more about the DC Comp Plan with this fact sheet.

HAND extends its gratitude to its Housing Priorities Coalition partners for their tireless efforts and commitment to advancing this critical document:

  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • DC Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)
  • Somerset Development
  • Coalition for Smarter Growth
  • Greater Greater Washington
  • United Planning Organization
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

We look forward to working with the above organizations as we continue to strive for a more equitable DC. Keep reading to hear from some of our coalition partners on the importance of the Comp Plan.

“The Comp Plan is DC’s foundational land use text. Revising it won’t change things overnight, or make housing more affordable, or more accessible, but without substantial changes to the Comp Plan—which determines the level of intensity of new development in DC, and where that new development goes—it’s impossible to redress some of the historic wrongs inherent in our land-use practices. The Comp Plan can increase the allowable density of the city, particularly in affluent, long-exclusive neighborhoods with robust amenities and services, which is necessary to increasing the amount of affordable housing built in those areas.”

– Alex Baca, Greater Greater Washington

“In October, the DC Council adopted into law a new Framework Element, or first chapter of the Comp Plan. This new element refocuses land use and development policy on affordable housing, preventing displacement of residents, and building a new racial and social equity lens into every aspect of the Comp Plan.”

– Cheryl Cort, Coalition for Smarter Growth

“The Comprehensive Plan sets a long-term vision for the physical growth and change of DC. It is critical that we update this foundational document to explicitly address the real-life issues District residents currently face: a severe lack of affordable housing, racial and economic segregation, and the displacement of lower-income residents. Now is the opportunity to make our priorities clear about how we want DC to develop and evolve in the years to come.”

– Adam Kent, DC LISC

“The Comprehensive Plan is DC’s guiding land use document, mandated by the 1973 Home Rule Act that gave the District a fully elected representative government. The Plan outlines an overall vision as well as specific policies to guide development in the city, and thus provides important direction about how and where the District will grow over time. If we can seize this opportunity and amend the Plan to set out a bold new vision for tackling our housing equity challenges as well as the climate crisis, it will create positive ripple effects across the region that will help to transform our housing and development policies for the 21st Century.”

-Patrick McAnaney, Somerset Development

“With so many struggling to make ends meet in an over-priced market in which they are underpaid, it is hard to choose the greatest priority between education, employment and housing. But at the end of the day, a stable home is the foundation of a stable life. Housing must be first, you can be educated and employed, but if your home is not affordable and decent, you will continuously struggle.”

-Katheryn Pierson, UPO


Members of
the DC Housing Priorities Coalition