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Mayor Bowser Announces New Strike Force for Rental Housing Market

Friday, January 29, 2021
Advisory Group Will Examine Affordable and Market-Rate Rental Housing Market

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the issuance of Mayor’s Order 2020-129 to establish the “Saving DC’s Rental Housing Market Strike Force,” a new advisory group that will examine the District’s preparedness to anticipate changes to the city’s affordable and market-rate rental housing market.

“The pandemic has had lasting effects on our rental housing market, and it is critical we understand these changes and their impacts on our District renters, particularly our low-income renters who rely on affordable housing options,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we continue our recovery, we will prioritize programs and strategies that support the housing needs of residents.”

The Strike Force, which is holding its kickoff today, January 29, will serve as an advisory group to address actions by or with the District government to address the current challenges and the post-pandemic future of DC’s rental housing market- affordable, market-rate, and naturally occurring affordable units. The Strike Force’s work will culminate in the issuance of a report of recommendations by mid-March. Interested residents and stakeholders can follow the work of the Strike Force on the DHCD website.

“This is the latest effort of our Administration to ensure that every resident has a fair shot as we move closer toward a new normal,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “I look forward to reviewing the Strike Force’s recommendation on how we can continue to be innovative in our affordable and market-rate rental housing market to meet the needs of our residents.”

The Strike Force, chaired by Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Director Polly Donaldson, and administered by the agency, will be comprised of Members of the District of Columbia Council and District Government agencies. Additional members will serve on the strike force and were selected from housing and economic development membership organizations, housing providers and tenants, housing counseling organizations, financial services industries, housing policy research organizations, and philanthropy.

“I’m honored to be asked to Chair this strike force by Mayor Bowser,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “Drawing on the same successes we were able to have when I chaired the District’s Housing Preservation Strike Force, I’m optimistic we will together be able to come up with a list of robust and implementable strategies for response.”

The Strike Force announcement compliments the work of the District’s Economic Recovery Team (DERT) to proactively plan, strategize, and coordinate the economic recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Further, it follows efforts already underway to support rental housing with programs to provide rent assistance to both tenants and housing providers as well as protections to prevent evictions.

In 2015, Mayor Bowser created the DC Housing Preservation Strike Force to create an action plan to preserve the District’s affordable housing covenants that were set to expire in 2020. In November 2016, the 18-member team released a 28-page report that included six key recommendations to preserve affordable housing in the District; all of which were adopted and are being implemented. During the public health emergency, the District launched and enhanced several programs to support renters. These programs include, the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP); funded with a combination of both federal and local resources, before and after the pandemic began. For more information on these programs, visit

A full list of Strike Force members is below:

Members of the Council of the District of Columbia

Councilmember Anita Bonds, At-Large
Councilmember Elissa Silverman, At-Large
Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Ward 2

Housing and Economic Development Membership Organization Representatives

Steve Glaude, CEO, CNHED
Michele Hagans, President & CEO, Fort Lincoln New Town Corporation and President, DCBIA
Dean Hunter, CEO, Small Multifamily Owners Association
Randi Marshall, Vice President of Government Affairs, AOBA
Monica Warren Jones, Director of Capital Solutions, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. and President, HAND

Housing Provider Representatives

Josh Bernstein, CEO, Bernstein Management
Buwa Binitie, Principal, Dantes Partners and DCHFA Chairman
Tom Borger, CEO, Borger Management
Ralph Boyd, CEO, SOME
AJ Jackson, Executive Vice President, JBG Smith

Housing Counseling Organization, Tenant Advocates, and Tenant Representatives

Evelyn Harrison, President, Worthington Woods Tenant Association
Kay Pierson, Director of Community Reinvestment, United Planning Organization
Marian Siegel, Executive Director, Housing Counseling Services

Financial Services Industry Representative

Ramon Jacobson, Executive Director, LISC DC

Housing Policy Research Organizations Representatives

Alex Baca, Housing Program Organization, Greater Greater Washington
Eva Rosen, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
Yesim Taylor, Founding Executive Director, DC Policy Center

Philanthropy Representative

Tonia Wellons, President and CEO, Greater Washington Communication Foundation

Administration Representatives

Christopher Donald, Acting Executive Director/CEO, DC Housing Finance Agency
Polly Donaldson, Director, DC Department of Housing and Community Development, Chair
Tyrone Garrett, Executive Director and CEO, DC Housing Authority
Kristy Greenwalt, Executive Director, DC Interagency Council on Homelessness
Sarosh Opadwala, Director of Real Estate, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
Johanna Shreve, Chief Tenant Advocate, DC Office of the Tenant Advocate
Andrew Trueblood, Director, DC Office of Planning
Laura Zeilinger, Director, DC Department of Human Services