When Leon, a native Washingtonian, was elected president of his tenant association, he struggled to communicate with his neighbors about their plans for the future when 80 percent of them spoke a language he didn’t understand: Spanish.
Over eight years, Leon worked with LEDC to break down language and knowledge barriers to empower his community to achieve a revitalization of their homes on their own terms. From fighting a proposal to turn their homes into unaffordable condominiums to negotiating with developers over building improvements and affordability guarantees in exchange for the purchase of their property, Leon and his neighbors partnered with LEDC to secure meaningful housing improvements for 140 families in Northwest DC, including new kitchens and bathrooms, a community center with after-school tutoring, and 40-year affordability protections.
“LEDC was our liaison. I have a right arm, and I have a left arm, and I need them both. While my leadership was necessary, I needed assistance to convey what the needs and the desires of the community were.” – Leon