41% of $413,000 goal
Baldwin House Co-op Dreaming and Fundraising
Saturday, December 18th, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM EST
Black and Brown tenants in DC's Ward 1, with support from Ward 1 Mutual Aid, are seeking to use their rights to buy their building themselves (instead of a luxury developer). We’re dreaming to create Baldwin House: a housing co-op and mutual aid hub in one of the most rapidly gentrifying cities in the U.S. Does this endeavor speak to you while igniting one hundred and one questions? Are you excited at the prospect of joining us in the fight for housing justice and community care in DC AND unsure what that might look like? Do you, or someone you know, have surplus money to contribute to this effort? This event is an opportunity to do some radical visioning and strategizing as a community. Part political education, part fundraiser, part celebration, and all community builder, we will use this evening to deepen the roots of Baldwin house and nurture a growing movement of supporters and donors. We hope you'll join us and bring a likeminded loved one!
On Sherman Ave NW, a familiar story is unfolding...
In a small apartment building, a group of Black and brown, low-income tenants have been surviving and confronting health and maintenance issues, loss of income, family emergencies, and many more layered crises during the pandemic. Tenants are now under pressure to pay rent owed from the last year of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the landlord is hoping to sell the building for $2.5 million, a sale that would result in the residents' displacement, the conversion of the building into overpriced units, and the cycle of gentrification we know all too well in Ward 1.
However, the tenants and the Ward 1 effort of the DC Mutual Aid Network are mobilizing to make a different ending to this story possible.
The residents are exercising their TOPA rights and working with the Howard University Fair Housing Clinic to keep informed of their tenants' rights and advocate for health & safety needs.
Together with a group of organizers from the DC Mutual Aid Network in Ward 1, we seek to purchase the building and establish a limited-equity housing cooperative and community mutual aid hub. We are calling this building we are dreaming of Baldwin House.
We invite our friends, family, neighbors, and all those who find solidarity with us to help us buy this building, renovate the space, and take care of each other during the transition. We are seeking to raise $2.7million (yes, so much! so fast!) to cover the building acquisition and to the fund critical repairs. We’ve already raised over $500k to cover the down payment, closing costs, initial renovation & furnishing costs, and support for residents. And we’ve received over $500k in pledges to go towards the acquisition.
“Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”
– James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
More about Baldwin House:
Our Mission: Center communities that have been historically excluded from generational property ownership. Model intentional collective living and collective spaces that allows communities to safely grow, create, and thrive and provides an alternative to the cycle of displacement and gentrification.
Our Vision: Learn and practice how to build concrete alternatives to commodified, displacement-driven housing by transforming a building that if sold would contribute to gentrification, cause significant harms to resident wellbeing, and create a cultural loss for the community.
More about the organizers:
The Ward 1 effort of the DC Mutual Aid Network is a grassroots, community-led effort taking care of each other and keeping our city as safe as possible. We recognize mutual aid is a universal practice that has deep roots in Black and Brown communities that have continued to be excluded from government assistance. Mutual aid is needed because we know we can’t rely on local government to meet all our needs with both urgency and dignity. That’s why the DC Mutual Aid Network exists.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ward 1 Mutual Aid Network has been purchasing and sharing food and supplies, running errands, providing cash assistance, supporting local artists and street vendors and farmers, organizing tenants in private and public housing, showing up with our time, skills, and resources for students and unsheltered/unhoused neighbors, and deepening our political education. And so much more.
Beyond this pandemic, we are building a future that we want to see. We are administering services in a way that is not paternalistic, and grounded in a community advocating and providing for itself. We are providing resources that trust that people make the best decisions for themselves about how to spend those resources. We are non-hierarchical and decentralized, as we believe that the people closest to the problem are best positioned to design a response.
Mutual aid is solidarity work, and we are all volunteers. 100% of your contributions will go directly to the work and no one profits or makes an income from this work. Mutual aid is also founded in community accountability and decision-making.
Want to contribute in other ways?
Are you interested in making a big one-time contribution (more than $1,000)? We can avoid fees by having you donate directly to our bank account! Contact us here: [email protected].
Do you have time, energy, skills, and/or expertise to contribute to the project of acquiring and building Baldwin House? Contact us here: [email protected].
Do you want to sign on as a monthly donor? You can do so here: https://www.patreon.com/BaldwinHouse
Baldwin House grew out of the Ward 1 Mutual Aid Network. Are you interested in supporting the Ward 1 Mutual Aid Network? Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/W1MutualAid
What Can We Grow From Crisis by Pete Railand
Crisis expands our imaginations around what is possible by Molly Costello