Protesters rally to stop DC from closing applications for rent relief program

A group of protesters gathered Sunday outside the John Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for more funds to be made available as people in D.C. are still struggling to pay rent.

A group of protesters gathered Sunday outside the John Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for more funds to be made available as people in D.C. are still struggling to pay rent.

A group of protesters gathered Sunday outside the John Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for more funds to be made available as people in D.C. are still struggling to pay rent.

A group of protesters gathered Sunday outside the John Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for more funds to be made available as people in D.C. are still struggling to pay rent.

A group of protesters gathered Sunday outside the John Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for more funds to be made available as people in D.C. are still struggling to pay rent.

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D.C.’s pandemic rental assistance program will stop accepting applications on Wednesday. Protestors at a Sunday rally said that’s too early.

Emily Lockwood, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, gathered with a group of fellow protesters outside the John Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for more funds to be made available as people in D.C. are still struggling to pay rent.
“This is a problem that really is emerging and it’s growing, it’s growing,” Lockwood said. “Someone making $15 an hour still can’t afford rent in D.C.”

STAY DC, which stands for Stronger Together by Assisting You, has handed out nearly $155 million in rent and utility assistance from federal funds to more than 23,000 residents.

But because officials said remaining applications will almost deplete the money left over, they have to stop accepting applications on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

Another $105 million in applications, which would assist 19,000 more residents, is being processed now.

“The slow kind of recovery from the pandemic has been rough,” Lockwood said. “It’s just simply not a question of people being quote-unquote lazy or like just not having employment or whatever, it’s just insufficient employment.”

D.C. was allocated $352 million in federal emergency rental assistance, which includes funding through the American Rescue Plan.

If additional funding is granted, John Falcicchio, the city’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, told WTOP it would be used to make sure D.C. funds all STAY DC applications submitted by the deadline, and the rest would be used to “bolster with additional funding those programs that existed before the pandemic.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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