Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Angela Washington was the last line of defense for residents at the Oak Hill Apartments in Southeast besieged by gun violence. Then, on the evening of Sept. 21, the 41-year-old special police officer was shot to death.

Why it matters: The District’s spike in gun violence is being linked partly to rundown properties that city officials and residents say have become magnets for criminal activity.

  • Residents tie Washington's killing to longstanding squalid and dangerous conditions at the apartment complex.
  • Before Washington's death, residents at Oak Hill complained to their landlord about doors that didn't lock, backed-up sewage, rotting walls, and strangers in vacant units.

The big picture: Washington's killing was the 19th homicide to take place around the Congress Heights neighborhood over the past two years, according to police data.

  • Across D.C.'s neighborhoods most plagued by gun violence, properties allegedly mismanaged by landlords are driving violence, the attorney general's office told Axios.
  • Homicides are currently up 11% from 2020, which saw a 16-year high in killings.

What they're saying: "Almost always when there is drug or firearm-related activity, there is also unkept property," Jennifer Berger, head of the social justice division in Attorney General Karl Racine's office, told Axios. "It usually goes hand-in-hand with overgrown shrubs, trash that is not being picked up, doors that are not being secured [and] inadequate lighting."

Oak Hill resident Cecelia Ginyard, 64, said that the property has become more violent as conditions worsened and vacant units went unlocked.

  • When she moved in 18 years ago, "the kids were able to play out here without being chased down with bullets," Ginyard told Axios outside in the courtyard of the complex.
Roshawn Petway (left) expresses frustration to longtime resident Cecelia Ginyard about conditions in their units days after the killing of a special police officer. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios.

Another resident, Roshawn Petway, has battled a collapsing ceiling and mice, and is fearful of the violence that surrounds her home with four children, the youngest a seven-year-old daughter.

  • "It took an officer to get killed on the property for the police department and the chief to come over here," Petway said in an interview with Axios, after "all the murders that happened on this property."

State of play: Racine's office has taken several landlords to court over dozens of properties plagued by violence.

  • Some settlements led to repairs and the hiring of special police officers such as Washington, who can carry guns and make arrests on those properties.

Oak Hill has been on Racine's radar. It was previously owned by notorious landlord Sanford Capital, which in 2018 settled lawsuits over its properties by selling off its housing units in the city.

  • The weekend after Washington's killing, residents blamed Sanford and subsequent property managers for the violence.

What's next: Beyond addressing the mold, an unrelenting rodent infestation, and vacant units, residents said they want the 107-unit complex's perimeter to be secured with a fence and locked gate.

  • Residents said new property manager Noble Realty has only installed poles for a gate that hasn't been built.
  • Axios emailed Noble Realty and a recent property management company, UIP, but did not receive responses.
Roshawn Petway says there have been several rundown vacant units like the one pictured above on her phone, attracting strangers and making the Oak Hill Apartments complex unsafe. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

Go deeper

What's driving the dip in Philadelphia's affordable housing

A view of red brick row houses of Philadelphia. Photo: Joe Sohm/Getty Images

Are tenant protections put in place during the pandemic leading to a decrease of affordable housing in Philadelphia?

What's happening: Drexel University economist Kevin Gillen told Axios that anecdotal evidence suggests the supply of low-income and moderate-income rental housing in Philly is trending downward.

  • Small landlords own the bulk of the city's affordable rental stock. And many have been selling their units, upgrading them to charge higher rents or are being more selective when choosing tenants, like requiring higher credit scores, according to the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia (HAPCO).
  • Gillen said this reduces the supply of affordable rental housing in the city.

By the numbers: 1,812 single family rental properties were converted from renter-occupied to owner-occupied between January 2020 and August 2021, Gillen said.

  • Of note: Nearly 21% of Philly landlords listed properties for sale in 2020 — a steep increase from 3.5% in 2019, according to an August report from researchers that included the University of Pennsylvania's Housing Initiative at Penn.

What they're saying: Gillen blamed the expired eviction moratoriums and the city's Eviction Diversion Program, which requires landlords and tenants to resolve issues through mediation. (The program also mandates a 45-day wait period for landlords to seek a court eviction order.)

  • "The moratorium may have been well-intentioned … but it's having some very regressive effects," he said.

Greg Wertman, president of HAPCO, told Axios that the pandemic, expired eviction moratoriums and new tenant protections have reduced rent collections and hurt small landlords.

  • "It's always the little guy who's getting hurt," said Wertman, whose group represents approximately 1,600 small landlords, most of whom have one or two units.

The other side: Councilperson Helen Gym, who spearheaded the Eviction Diversion Program, called Gillen's claims linking the program to a drop in affordable housing "ridiculous" and baseless.

  • Gym also noted that the local eviction moratorium ended in August 2020. The federal moratorium expired in August of this year.

Between the lines: Emily Dowdall, policy director at the Reinvestment Fund, said in an email that there are several market forces at play encouraging landlords to sell rather than rent.

  • Low interest rates during the pandemic created an advantage for new homeowners, and a city-funded initiative during this time helped moderate-income households move to homeownership.

Dowdall added that housing has become less affordable because home prices rose faster than incomes during the pandemic.

  • Philadelphia home prices jumped nearly 13% over 2020, while incomes were up 7.3%, she said.
  • "Rising sale prices can make the prospect of selling one's rental property more appealing," she added.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

3 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.