DC Council members discuss housing authority’s response to HUD report detailing failures

At the same time the D.C. area is desperate for affordable housing, public housing in D.C. is full of vacancies.

Tens of thousands of people languish on waiting lists and many units that are occupied are in deplorable condition, according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which called for a corrective action to be in place by March 31.

On Wednesday, a D.C. Council committee met with D.C. Housing Authority officials who are working to address concerns identified by HUD.

“Of course I’m sure we’re going to hear from the public and we will provide opportunity (later) for the public to respond to the hearing today,” said Anita Bonds, who chairs the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration.

A topic visited by multiple council members was the use of consultants compensated with taxpayer dollars for guidance.

“These are industry experts that HUD has recommended,” said DCHA Executive Director Brenda Donald.

“HUD advised me personally to use industry consultants to update our policies and our procedures and training. They said it would be foolish to spend time trying to start from scratch,” Donald said.

DCHA’s 60-page response to the HUD report can be found on the agency’s website.

After the HUD report came out, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was embarrassed and promised a swift response from the city.

In an emergency meeting back in October, DCHA and its board heard from residents after a closed session, with one person describing deplorable conditions at the property where she lived, including corroded staircases, water-damaged walls in bathrooms and infestations.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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