Are voluntary agreements hurting housing affordability?

HOUSING | Last year, a development company wanted to purchase and renovate an Adams Morgan building, which primarily contained affordable units. They offered tenants a deal: a $20,000 buy out if they moved, or protected low-rents if they agreed to let the other units list at higher than normal prices. The company would also sink millions into renovations. It seems like a good deal, but it raises questions about what the District is doing to protect housing affordability.

The company used a tool called voluntary agreements, which the Office of the Tenant Advocate’s Joel Cohn says is actually being misused (CP, 8/1):

“The voluntary agreement was never intended as a bargaining chip to get tenants to protect their rent levels in exchange for every other rent in the building to go up to market rate.” Traditionally, voluntary agreements were a way for existing tenants to agree to pay more in exchange for improvements; now, they’re often a way for tenants to protect their current rents at the expense of future tenants.

– WAMU interviewed DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson about patience, progress, and not being satisfied with only small improvements. (WAMU, 8/1)

– A national poll finds that 70 percent of voters support expanded early childhood education programs. (WFPL, 8/1)

LOCAL | Curious about what Mayor Gray will do with the living wage bill? Well, don’t hold your breath, because you’ll run out of air and perish before you get an answer. The bill still hasn’t made it to the mayor’s desk because once it does, a veto by Gray could be overturned by a Council vote.

But only if the councilmembers (who get paid more than $125,000 for their part-time jobs) are here to vote. And they aren’t. Many are “out of town” according to Chairman Phil Mendelson. (WaPo, 8/1)

HEALTH | Nutrient shortages hurt local infants, area hospitals (WTOP, 8/1)

METRO | C’est un coïncidence cosmique! Un enfant est né à L’Enfant Plaza gare! (WAMU, 8/1)

Strange things are afoot today. Uncertain weather. Babies being born underground. The AARP welcoming Coolio to their club?! I think the only logical thing to do is to read about the world’s best water parks. That catapult in Australia sounds intriguing. 

We won’t have a Daily tomorrow, so I’ll see you on Monday. Enjoy the weekend.