Nadeau Bill Would Bring DC Housing Authority Under Mayoral Control
Bill seeks to ensure DCHA prioritizes the interests of public housing residents
The goal of the District of Columbia Housing Authority Amendment Act of 2019 is to create more transparency of the Housing Authority’s practices, procedures and budget priorities and will allow Council to conduct more thorough oversight. It is co-introduced by a majority of the Council, including Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Robert C. White, Jr., Jack Evans, Charles Allen, David Grosso, and Brandon Todd.
“This is a critical time in the District to prioritize affordable housing,” said Nadeau. “We need to ensure that every housing agency is aligned in that mission, and that we are creating pathways for our residents to move out of poverty and into prosperity."
Earlier this year, the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners introduced a resolution “to adopt a framework for the stabilization and repositioning DCHA’s portfolio of properties.” This resolution would open up the possibility privatizing significant portions of DCHA’s housing portfolio. Councilmember Nadeau’s bill will prevent the Housing Authority or its Board of Commissioners from moving the agency towards privatization and allowing for third parties to profit at the expense of our public housing residents.
“Our agencies must prioritize preserving existing affordable housing, and finding creative solutions to leverage District resources, tools, and the Housing Production Trust fund to increase affordable housing production. We must ensure the District’s public housing residents are part of this equation,” said Nadeau. “It’s imperative that the agency charged with running our public housing values our residents and seeks to preserve every unit of housing while also looking for new ways to create them.”
Currently, DCHA is an independent government agency. Prior to 1992, the District’s public housing programs fell under the Department of Public and Assisted Housing (DPAH). By 1992, DPAH was plagued with many problems and applicants on the housing waiting list sued in the Superior Court to seek redress. The Council, recognizing the serious deficiencies, dissolved the agency and established DCHA to take over DPAH’s public housing functions. In 1994, the Council enacted the “District of Columbia Housing Authority Act of 1994” which created the Housing Authority. In 1999, the Council enacted the “District of Columbia Housing Authority Act of 1999” which established DCHA’s independent authority, and created the structure and procedures of the modern Housing Authority. The District government has changed in many ways since that time indicating it is up to the task of managing DCHA in a way that is responsible and responsive to residents.
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