On October 20, 2008, residents and staff members from Jubilee Housing and the Jubilee Support Alliance stood up for low-income housing at the D.C. Council. At a packed hearing at the John A. Wilson building, they witnessed their support of the Housing Production Trust Fund Stabilization Amendment Act, which seeks to establish a $100 million minimum for low-income housing each year in the District. The Act, introduced by Councilmember Marion Barry, addresses a fiscal crisis in low-income housing caused by the collapsing housing market in the District.
Jubilee Housing advocates gave powerful and moving testimony. Jim Knight outlined how the Fund is being used to support the renovations at Jubilee Housing, and his vision of how it could be used in the future to provide housing for more at-risk populations. Francisco Gonzalez underscored how crucial this Fund has been for low-income housing in D.C., serving as a model to the rest of the country. Maria Reynosa demonstrated the need for such housing for seniors. Brian Adams invited Marion Barry to visit Jubilee Housing and see for himself how these funds have been used. And Gilma Merino, speaking of the importance of Jubilee’s housing and after-school services to her and her family, moved many people to tears. “I want to speak from my heart,” she told Councilmember Barry, “but I am so nervous.” Encouraged by Mr. Barry, she went on to speak of her dream that one day, her children would be able to sit in the Council chamber and give back to D.C. as professionals. Mr. Barry, in response, said “One cannot help but be touched by what you said. I wish this for your children as well.” He promised to visit Jubilee Housing soon.
To read an article about this hearing (including a quote from Gilma Merino), click here