DC mayor moves to dissolve city’s troubled housing authority board

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson want to replace the existing D.C. Housing Authority Board of Commissioners with a temporary board after a scathing federal report found the city’s housing authority failed to provide “decent, safe and sanitary” public housing.

The emergency legislation that the D.C. Council would likely vote on Tuesday would create an eight-member Stabilization and Reform Board. The current board has 13 members.

This temporary board would include public members who have expertise in affordable housing development, federal housing law and capital projects. The board would be in place for three years.

The board would file quarterly reports, detailing its progress in addressing the deficiencies identified in a recent Housing and Urban Development audit of the D.C. Housing Authority.

Bowser said the streamlined reform board will ensure that the agency is living up to the belief that a safe and stable life begins with safe and stable housing.

“DCHA needs an agile board, comprised of experts who understand these issues deeply, so that we can deliver the housing DCHA residents deserve and that our community deserves,” she said.

The report from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that calls for corrective action by March 31 found tens of thousands of people waiting for public housing, as well as dangerous conditions at DCHA properties, including violence, lead paint hazards, water damage and mold.

“It’s understood that Public Housing Authority is not working very well, the challenge for us is to turn the Authority around and do it in an orderly fashion while we get a new Executive Director next year,” Mendelson said in a news release. “This legislation helps to stabilize the Authority and ensure that we don’t see more turnover at the top while working this out.”

The legislation comes just days after the mayor tapped a team of consultants to help with the agency’s problems, and after D.C. Council members met with D.C. Housing Authority officials.

WTOP’s Sarah Jacobs and Kristi King contributed to this story.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up