Nov 10, 2019 1:38 PM
In April 2018, with our communities facing increasing levels of violence because of FOSTA/SESTA, NJNP doubled-down on providing Rapid Response Support to our Trans familia and expanded our Trans Justice Program. We started in a small 2 bedroom apartment in Columbia Heights, with a handful of supporters living rooms for additional support ensuring as many as 12 of our loved ones were safe and housed each night. The Columbia Heights home faced a lot of scrutiny from neighbors and the police who a spotlight at the home each night. “Its to deter people from breaking into the abandoned building” the police would explain at the time, referring to a vacant building accross the street. The spotlight however seemed permanently fixed onto the NJNP Collective. The landlord ultimately were friendly with the police and asked us to leave by August, citing they would like to move back in (which is how alot of landlords get around evictions in DC when there isn’t grounds to do so). The house however was listed back for rent the following month.
After an exhausting first summer looking for a home more suitable, we found one just in time of our move out date and settled in promptly. We thought we found peace, but it was short lived. By December, we were receiving emails weekly from our new landlord with complaints from the neighbors. Almost all entirely of petty nature and almost all around the trash. At one point it was so bad that when a Collective Member took out a couple of bags of trash right before the trash collection came, a neighbor took pictures of it, sent it to our landlord and claimed it had been out there overnight and had already been ran over. By the time the email was forwarded to us less than an hour later with the pictures it was picked up by the Trash Collection.
In June after being harrassed in the neighborhood, our home felt like it was being attacked on all sides. Gentrification and displacement have a huge psychological toll and we agreed with our landlord to not renew our lease and once again we had to move.
Summer of 2019 was filled with trauma and triggers of the year before move, difficult conversations with community about what it means to support, and the long daunting house search that would later turn into a search for multiple homes allowing us to expand. By October 1st, we were able to obtain two homes for our collective members and (as of 10/24/2019) working on a 3rd home for our long term members who are without personal rooms at the moment while fundraising for our November Housing costs.