The April 24 Metro article “D.C. outlines advisory group for reopening city” aptly highlighted the city’s need to carefully consider how it emerges from this crisis. I agree with Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) that we have a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to not just reopen our city, but to build a more equitable DC.”

As one of the most intensely gentrifying cities in the nation, the District cannot afford for this crisis to further fuel displacement. The D.C. Council has passed impressive measures protecting residents during this unprecedented time. But substantial gaps remain. The District must do all it can to ensure that homeowners and tenants do not suffer the trauma, wealth loss and displacement of foreclosure and eviction in the midst of a pandemic. Surprisingly, the District has yet to enact any moratorium on foreclosures as part of its coronavirus response, putting it behind states such as South Carolina and Indiana. Its eviction moratorium has been in place since March but lags behind states such as Kansas and Kentucky in its coverage because new eviction cases can still be filed in court — indeed, over 1,000 have been filed since mid-March. As part of its next emergency legislation, the council must pass — and the mayor and attorney general should support — a full moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. To build a more equitable District, we need to hit pause on these engines of displacement until we have a comprehensive strategy for an equitable recovery.

Damon King, Washington

The writer is senior policy attorney for the
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.