DC Attempts to Turn Existing Home Space into Apartments
- Author: Bryan Miller
- Posted: 2023-05-27
Few people probably know who DC's mayor is (Muriel E. Bowser, by the way), but everyone likely knows it's another Democrat. That's all DC elects; maybe because you can't spell Democrat without DC. Who knows? Though another thing that most everyone does know: DC has a lot of crime and a lot of poverty and a long, sordid history of politicians making things worse for the citizens while enriching themselves. The latest legislation passed in DC is for the government to transform people's homes into rental apartments so that they can sublet part of their home for additional income.
This went from a mere proposition to signed legislation nearly overnight, and Mayor Bowser didn't even announce it was happening until it was a done deal. Basically, the District has a budget of $165 million for the "Residential Accessory Apartments Program." If a homeowner in DC would like to earn supplemental income, they can fill out an application for government renovations.
According to Bowser and other politicians who pushed this through, it's going to solve the housing shortage and help the homeless crisis while stimulating the economy.
Theory vs. Application
Political theory and its ultimate application has historically been so far removed from one another that you could be forgiven for believing that it was set up that way. Politicians propose something for public schools, like school choice or new administrative positions, and that theory in application just ends up wasting money and making things worse. You can go down a long list of instances where this has happened, especially when you get to the section about the poor and homeless in DC. Politicians there have really never figured anything out, to the point most believe now that they don't actually care.
DC is the part of America that re-elected a mayor who was caught with crack cocaine and prostitutes, simply because he was the Democrat on the bill and the wealthy voters who don't need help outnumber the poor whose votes are disenfranchised. That's how DC works.
The theory here is that homeowners who need help will fill out an application, and if approved the government will come in and turn a part(s) of their home into a rental property, so that the homeowner can have extra income, with the bonus of helping the housing shortage and homeless crisis.
A political theory that suggests turning private, single-family homes into boarding houses will help people. There is no practical reason a normal person wouldn't roll their eyes at this, but if this is the exception to the rule and it works, then that's a great thing for the people helped.
A Potential Lack of Choice
A lot of residents in DC are rightly fearful of what this could really mean for their homes. Say that you're a resident of the area who actually does own a decent home with space, and that space includes a basement you don't really use, and even a large attic. Well, the fear is that the government is just going to target your home for their expansion, and that you are not going to have a say in this. Of course, the government denies that they would ever do this. But people live in the current world and they have eyes. They saw Justin Trudeau in Canada claim that he was perfectly fine and supportive of protests, until which point those protesters were protesting him. Then he confiscated their private property, shut down their bank accounts, and even put some in jail. America also has a very long history of claiming eminent domain for public works. If they decide to take people's houses from them if they don't cooperate, the precedent is set and there's no political option a free people can exercise to stop it.
Ironically enough, dozens of black communities have historically been trampled and legislated out of existence due to an overzealous government undervaluing African Americans and claiming eminent domain on entire communities. This has been done quite a few times post-Jim Crow, so it's not a thing America's government can just blame on a racist, segregated south.
DC politicians for this new measure claim that it will help homeowners in the District. Though when it boils down to it, DC's politicians have never done much to help the ordinary people of the District. Outside of Pennsylvania Avenue, most people are looked over and considered in the way. Time will tell how this new government program pans out, but the area is pretty split over its quick passing.