"[A] lack of resources is its own miserable trap. The best way to get people out of poverty is just to get them out of poverty; the best way to offer families more resources is just to offer them more resources."

Annie Lowrey



DC Appleseed’s affordable housing work began with our advocacy for affordable housing, environmental, and jobs requirements in the transformative redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront. Since then, it has grown to encompass a range of our projects, including HIV/AIDS and Anacostia River restoration. Our initiatives are focused on acting as an honest broker between stakeholders and government. We’re studying ways to streamline financing and permitting to reduce the costs of affordable housing development and how to implement the District’s Opportunity to Purchase Act (DOPA). We’re also continuing to advocate for the District to leverage public land and other off-budget assets for affordable housing.


Staff Contact: Danielle Burs

Pro Bono Partners: Gensler; Hopscotch Ventures; Law Office of Hank Brothers; Robert Bobb Group; Steptoe & Johnson LLP

"We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer



Employers in DC have an increasing number of good-paying jobs available, but many of our low-income residents do not hold the qualifications employers seek for those jobs. DC Appleseed is determined to change to change that with our long-term workforce development project that will make it possible for more of our 120,000 unemployed and under-employed residents to move into good jobs.

We have assembled a strong team of pro bono partners who are conducting research and exploring opportunities to work the key sectors--employers, training providers, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, the labor community, and government agencies. At the conclusion of our work, we will issue a comprehensive assessment that details recommendations for each sector and an annual report card to measure the progress of each sector over the next 5 to 10 years. This approach was used successfully in our HIV/AIDS project. Our key sectors have produced “Pandemic Pivot” memos describing their efforts during the pandemic and providing recommendations for their work going forward. These memos will help DC’s elected leaders and work force stakeholders determine what is needed for our city to develop a well-trained and adequately paid work force. In 2012, DC Appleseed was a leader in helping the District launch a “workforce intermediary” to match hospitality and construction employers with qualified District residents. As we adjust to our city’s economic realities in the post COVID-19 recovery phase, workforce intermediary practices will need to be modified.

Preparing residents for employment in a world that is becoming more complex each day will require helping them to attain degrees and certifications beyond high school. We hope and expect the UDC Community College will play a major role in workforce development as community colleges do across the country. Students of all ages will depend on the Community College to provide pathways to jobs and education in a region that may be making huge shifts in how and where people work.


Staff Contact: Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners: Arent Fox LLP, Arnold & Porter, Covington & Burling LLP, Deloitte LLP, Georgetown University Policy Innovation Lab, Latham & Watkins LLP,   Steptoe & Johnson LLP



Our city is at risk of an acute shortage of home healthcare workers. To prevent that, DC Appleseed is working with the District government, healthcare providers, educational organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that DC can continue to meet our growing need for healthcare workers.

The need is already greater than the supply. The ratio of residents needing homecare support in D.C. to available caregivers is 3 to 1, a ratio predicted to worsen if current demographic and workforce trends continue. According to a survey by DC Appleseed and the DC Long Term Care Coalition 20 out of 21 managers of homecare agencies were apprehensive about being able to hire enough workers to meet their clients’ needs.


To overcome the shortage of home health workers, DC Appleseed is advocating in two areas—compensation and training. Unfortunately, the pay is so low that home healthcare work is not considered a “good job.” We believe that home health workers should continue to receive the combat or hazard pay that essential workers earned during the pandemic and that the amount of this pay should be increased.


We also feel that it is essential for area colleges and universities as well as adult education programs to work with DC government agencies, health care providers, and home care agencies to align and streamline training and certification for home health workers. Low or no cost, high quality professional development that meets the needs of the workers and their employers will benefit healthcare workers and their patients. Financial support for those enrolled in home healthcare courses will make it possible for these students to spend the time required on their courses.


Home healthcare can and should be a field with a career ladder that promises economic success for experienced workers. Making this a reality is the key to meeting our growing need for healthcare workers.


Staff Contact: Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners: Arnold & Porter

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