One of the great American dreams for generations has been homeownership. The size of the house and the extras within were of little consequence. What mattered was the fact that a family or a hardworking individual had been able to put aside enough cash, had secured a loan from their local bank and had purchased a home — a place that they could call their own.
Some of you may remember that day, the day you moved into your first house and how proud it made you feel. You savored using your key to enter your personal mansion and savored those times when you entertained friends and loved ones, pointing out the new furniture, the new patio you’d built in the backyard or the larger-than-life HD TV that you’d recently set up in your den.
But as District residents as well as citizens in other towns, cities and states across the country come face to face with the ever-growing crisis of the lack of affordable housing, the dream of homeownership — that white picket fence and two-car garage — is becoming less of an achievable reality and more like a fairy tale.
Even those fortunate enough to luck up on finding a home they can actually afford often find the application process so confusing and disheartening that they throw up their hands and abandon their dream. These and other realities have us wondering why we continue to see a slew of beautiful homes being built across the DMV that cost far more than the average citizen can afford.
What kind of city will the District be in the coming years and who will be the residents who dwell here? It’s not that we’re wedded to the District being able to one day reclaim its nickname of “Chocolate City.” We just fear that if things remain the same, the amount of “chocolate” will be barely noticeable. Something’s wrong with this picture but it doesn’t have to be that way, does it?
If we can send men and women to the moon, build cars that drive themselves and enter a new, exciting world dominated by “Star Wars”-like technology, surely we can tackle the problem of affordable housing. The people of D.C. don’t need any more lip service or promises that will inevitably be broken.
We need more affordable housing — now.