Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fact Check

No, the Green New Deal doesn’t cost average households ‘almost $700,000’

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline recently put an eye-popping taxpayer price tag on the Green New Deal - a bold but vague climate change-centered plan...

Two Views of American Families Plan

The White House and Republican National Committee are each touting different economic analyses that reach far different conclusions about the budget and economic impact...

With federal stimulus money for schools, “no distinctions are being made between Wisconsin schools that remain closed to in-person learning, and those that have...

School staff use barriers and distance at the Sinaloa Middle School in Novato, Calif., to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Haven Daley) ...

Viral Post Misleads on COVID-19 Death Reporting, Vaccine Monitoring

SciCheck Digest A tweet that migrated across social media platforms falsely suggests that any deaths in the 20 days following positive COVID-19 tests are to...

“If you look at some of these places that (reduced police funding), they’ve already seen crime go up."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during his State of the State address at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., March 2, 2021. (AP)Source link

Can COVID-19 vaccines affect my period?

Can COVID-19 vaccines affect my period?It’s not known, but researchers are starting to study the issue. Vaccines are designed to activate your immune system,...

US Politics
Latest

Stocks pull below record but still end best month this year

Stocks gave back some of their recent gains Friday, though the market still closed out April with its biggest monthly gain so far this...

Whose ‘Big Lie’? Trump’s proclamation a new GOP litmus test

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump and his supporters are intensifying efforts to shame — and potentially remove — members of their party who are...

MAGA world pans Stefanik – POLITICO

The Columbia Bugle — an anonymously-run Twitter account with nearly 179,000 followers, including high-profile Trump movement influencers — described Stefanik as “a slightly less...

Newsmax apologizes to Dominion worker for false allegations

NEW YORK (AP) — Newsmax apologized on Friday for airing false allegations that an employee for Dominion Voting Systems manipulated machines or tallies on...

Whose ‘Big Lie’? Trump’s proclamation a new GOP litmus test

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump and his supporters are intensifying efforts to shame — and potentially remove — members of their party who are...

LGBTQ

I’m vaccinated. Can I go to Pride now? / LGBTQ Nation

The latest episode of the LGBTQ Nation podcast has arrived and we’re talking about life after COVID. Will we be able to celebrate Pride this...

It’s time to binge-watch “The Nanny” on HBOMax & realize just how LGBTQ-friendly it was / LGBTQ Nation

Fran Drescher at the Women Empowering Women - The Unstoppable Warrior event on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, CAPhoto: ShutterstockWith the ‘90s sitcom...

Out Major General Tammy Smith retires after 35 years of service / LGBTQ Nation

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight...

Tech

Insurer AXA halts ransomware crime reimbursement in France

BOSTON (AP) — In an apparent industry first, the global insurance company AXA said Thursday it will stop writing cyber-insurance policies in France that...

Turkey arrests 4 in new digital currency platform probe

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish authorities arrested four people Monday on fraud charges in connection with an investigation into a local cryptocurrency trading platform —...

Virginia tenants fear they’ll be displaced by Amazon workers

Must read

Stocks pull below record but still end best month this year

Stocks gave back some of their recent gains Friday, though the market still closed out April with its biggest monthly gain so far this...

Britain Politics

Britain Politics Source link

China launches main part of its 1st permanent space station

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term, the latest...

ITF seeks new host city for Billie Jean King Cup finals

LONDON (AP) — The International Tennis Federation is seeking a new host city for the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, formerly the...

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Southern Towers apartment complex is a census tract unto itself, with more than 2,600 units, and a huge bastion of affordable housing in the inner suburbs of northern Virginia.

But longtime residents — many of whom have had to rely on a federal moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic — fear they will be squeezed out when the government mandate ends, in large part to make room for high-earning tenants who will be working at Amazon’s second headquarters in nearby Crystal City.

Affordable housing is a huge concern in metropolitan Washington, and those concerns are expected to increase as Amazon moves ahead with plans to bring 25,000 workers, with an estimated average annual income of $150,000, to the area in coming years.

Southern Towers tenants, composed mostly of African immigrants, see warning signs all around: Los Angeles-based CIM Group bought the complex of five 16-story buildings last year for half a billion dollars, at a time when investors and speculators are clamoring to get in on the region’s housing market as construction on the headquarters gets underway.

“It looks like what they’re planning to do is fancy the place up, force out the existing tenants and replace them with new, higher-income residents,” said Amaha Kassa, director of African Communities Together, a community activist group that is lending support to Southern Towers tenants.

A study conducted by Chris Bohner of the management consulting firm Radish LLC on behalf of the community group found that CIM initiated 262 eviction cases — about 10% of all units at Southern Towers — since it took over the property. The review also found that the company was responsible for 27% of all eviction hearings at the Alexandria courthouse since August, when CIM purchased the property, even though the company owns only about 9% of the city’s rental units.

In a written statement, CIM said that it has no plans to turn the towers into luxury housing for Amazon employees and that it has worked hard to accommodate tenants facing eviction, including helping them obtain more than $1 million in rental assistance. The company added that it currently has only 35 unresolved eviction cases.

“We believe Southern Towers provides workforce housing and we intend to maintain it as workforce housing that is appealing to residents and the community,” the company said.

City housing officials met with tenant advocates Friday and are working to ensure no one is evicted unnecessarily, Alexandria housing director Helen McIlvaine said. She said state programs are in place to essentially make rent payments on behalf of tenants who can’t afford to do so. Tenants can apply on their own, or landlords can apply on behalf of tenants; still, the challenge has been getting people to enroll.

McIlvaine said language barriers and communications breakdowns sometimes stymie the process, but “we’re all about breaking those barriers and making sure people get assistance.”

Sami Bourma, 49, a cook at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda who was laid off during the pandemic, has lived at Southern Towers with his wife and daughter for about five years. He said CIM initiated eviction proceedings last year against him, but the case was resolved when he got caught up on rent. He said he’s again a couple months behind on his rent, which is about $1,600 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Bourma, who has worked for the NIH for 20 years, says his company has started calling employees back, but so far he is not one of them.

He said some of his neighbors simply moved away when they received eviction notices. Many of Southern Towers’ tenants are African emigrants who do not want to jeopardize their immigration status. Most, however, are trying to find ways to pay or get assistance with their rent so they can stay, he said.

“This is our home. We do our best to try to make it our home. … My daughter’s school is right across the street,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t want to pay rent.”

Tenants have organized protests, leaning on the company to be more lenient with its residents. Until last year, when so many were laid off from the pandemic, Bourma would not have expected to see this level of activism from Southern Towers residents — they were all too busy working, he said.

With a little more time on their hands, he said, tenants have been able to meet regularly, talk about what they want and how to achieve it.

“Why are we fighting? If we leave, it’s just going to be the same thing at the next place,” he said.

Amazon itself has committed $2 billion to an affordable housing fund — not just in northern Virginia but also in Washington state and Nashville, Tennessee, where the company also has or expects to have a large corporate presence. In Arlington County, Amazon has already committed funds to preserve affordable housing units in the Crystal House apartments near its headquarters.

But Southern Towers provides a good example of what maintaining affordable housing costs the property owners. If Southern Towers alone were able to increase its monthly rent by just $500 at its 2,600 units, CIM would increase its annual revenue by $15.6 million.

Kassa said he’s skeptical of CIM’s statement that it remains committed to workforce housing at Southern Towers.

“I would ask, ‘Which workforce?’” he said.

Source link

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article

Stocks pull below record but still end best month this year

Stocks gave back some of their recent gains Friday, though the market still closed out April with its biggest monthly gain so far this...

Britain Politics

Britain Politics Source link

China launches main part of its 1st permanent space station

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term, the latest...

ITF seeks new host city for Billie Jean King Cup finals

LONDON (AP) — The International Tennis Federation is seeking a new host city for the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, formerly the...

No, the Green New Deal doesn’t cost average households ‘almost $700,000’

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline recently put an eye-popping taxpayer price tag on the Green New Deal - a bold but vague climate change-centered plan...