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Activists Want Millions More To Help Tenants Buy Their Buildings

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By Jessica Gould

Affordable housing advocates in D.C. want to see the city dedicate more funds to help low income tenants stay in their homes.

Farah Fosse is a director of the affordable housing program at the Latino Economic Development Corporation. She says one of the best ways to preserve affordable housing in D.C. is for tenants to purchase their buildings with loans from the city’s Housing Production Trust Fund.

"The buildings that are purchased as co-ops are affordable for at least 40 years. Some are put into a permanent housing trust so that they are affordable in perpetuity," says Fosse.

But she says the trust fund, which is tied to a tax on real estate sales, has diminished during the economic downturn.

"The catch is that now that we’re in bad economic times, there’s actually a bigger opportunity for tenants to negotiate good prices to be able to purchase their buildings. But there’s less money to actually buy them," she says.

That's why, she says, her group is calling on the city to create a dedicated, local source of funding from its annual budget.

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