Testimony Guide: Zoning Commission Racial Equity Roundtable

September 15, 2022

The DC Comprehensive Plan requires the zoning commission to apply a racial equity analysis to the approval of development. We believe the tool the commission uses is weak and needs improvement. We created this testimony guide to add to the discussion and encourage residents and the zoning commission to do better. If you care about racial justice, please take a look and get involved! Link to testimony guide.

Testimony Guide: 807 Maine Avenue

September 14, 2022

There is a Planned Unit Development planned for 807 Maine Avenue SW. The project will have 202 units and 15% will be "affordable." Only 1 of the units will be priced for people earning 50% of area median income. The developer will donate $100,000 to Jefferson Middle School and $100,000 the Southwest Business Improvement District to purchase a small fleet of e-bikes and to do a study on mobility options. We gave the project an F on our grading scale and created this testimony guide for people to use to testify in opposition to the current plans.

OP-ED: Expanding A Community-led Model For Permanently Affordable Housing

March 1, 2022

Our latest on why it makes sense to expand the Douglass Community Land Trust into Southwest with quotes from Kymone Freeman of We Act Radio, Silvia Salazar, a resident and Board member of Douglass CLT, and analysis from the Council Office of Racial Equity on how public land should be disposed. Link to article.

Get To Know SW Action!

October 11, 2021

Don't know much about SW Action? Check out this document to learn about what we've been doing since forming in December 2019 and where we hope to go in the future. If you care about racial justice and environmental sustainability, get in touch!

DC Line: The Problem With Community Benefit Agreements

April 14, 2021

SW Action member, Pamela McKinney, wrote an opinion piece for the DC Line highlighting the conflict of interest in the Jemal Cotton Annex project and the problem with community benefit agreements in general. You can read it here.

Westminster Project Grade: 84/100

March 31, 2021

SW Action applied their grading criteria to the Westminster Presbyterian project. The project received a score of 84/100. This is by far, one of the highest scores obtained by any project we have applied our criteria to. You can read the full analysis of the project here.

OP Meeting 12/7/20

Suggested Amendments For Inclusionary Zoning & Design Review

December 7, 2020

During the Zoning Commission's November 19, 2020 public hearing, Chairman Anthony Hood asked the Office of Planning to include SW Action member, Coy McKinney, in future discussions regarding affordable housing (link to video). A few weeks later, the Office of Planning followed up on this request and scheduled a meeting. McKinney and fellow member, Jennifer Ho, drafted recommendations for changes to the design review process (even though Hood seems to imply the discussions should be broader).


We believe that shared equity models, such as community land trusts and limited equity co-operatives, are underutilized tools that will not only provide permanently affordable homeownership opportunities, but provide the community an opportunity to have a say in their neighborhood. Learn more about community land trusts here.

DMPED Presentation 9/16/20

Meeting w/DMPED ON Affordable Housing

September 16, 2020

Members of our group met with Sarosh Olpadwala, Director of Real Estate in the office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development, to talk about our goals for affordable housing: 27k units that are in either a community land trust, limited equity coop, social or public housing, or Housing First model by 2025! To get out of a crisis, we must take bold action.


This is the first in a series of events looking at the role and influence of Business Improvement Districts on gentrification and displacement. You can watch the full event here.

Housing Grading Criteria

September 28, 2020

The SW Action Housing Group created a grading system to judge new and already existing projects in the neighborhood. Projects will be judged on:

For the full list of criteria, click here.

Equitable + Antiracist Housing

Equitable & Antiracist Housing

August 27, 2020

Over the next month, we will be having several meetings with council-members, their staff, and other DC government policymakers to talk about our ideas for implementing antiracist and equitable policies into how housing is produced in the city. You can browse through the presentation on the left side, or via this link.

Photos by: Desiree Halpern

Statement: Interrupting cycles of harm

In response to a series of incidents that happened in the Southwest neighborhood and how some neighbors responded to those incidents, members of our group took time to craft a statement for how we as a community can interrupt cycles of harm rather than perpetuate them. Read the full statement here.

Promoting Social and Economic Equity in the Southwest Waterfront Community

Recommendations written by SW Action members on how to address inequity and sustainability in SW. Click here for more information.

How to be an antiracist

As a group, we strive to be antiracists and to advocate for and implement antiracist policies. As a group, we held a discussion on Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's book, How To Be An Antiracist and use that discussion for reference. Click here for more information and resources.

4th & M Street

SW Action Group is involved in advocating for more affordable housing at the planned development at 4th & M Streets. Click here for more information and resources.

SW Plan and Comprehensive Plan

Click here for more information and resources about major DC planning documents relevant to our group.

Chart Comparing New Units in SW DC

This is a spreadsheet that compares the type (apartment/condo), size, and price of different housing buildings in SW DC.

Spreadsheet: Apartments in SW.

The Case For A Radical BID

This is a paper written by SW resident, Coy McKinney, on the history of Business Improvement Districts, how they are tied to gentrification, and suggestions for how they could be re-structured to advocate for equity and justice in the neighborhoods they operate in. 

Full paper: The Case For A Radical BID

A shorter version was published in the DC Line and can be found here