Since taking over the Council’s Committee on Housing, I have sounded the alarm about a culture of unethical behavior and a systemic lack of accountability at the DC Housing Authority (DCHA). The recent media coverage of a DCHA trash collection contract allegedly steered to a particular vendor is one of many concerning allegations that have illustrated a pattern and practice of concerning behavior.
I regularly hear from residents who have lost faith in DCHA and feel like the housing system is rigged. It is unacceptable anytime the agency’s efforts are set back by a lack of integrity and inadequate internal oversight. As chair of the Committee on Housing I have passed numerous allegations of unethical and possibly illegal behavior by employees of DCHA to our Inspector General for investigation and, where appropriate, prosecution. When the Council returns to session, I will hold an additional oversight hearing on DCHA to continue exploring both systemic failures and the agency’s compliance with federal mandates. I am also working on further reform legislation for DCHA to build on the Council’s recent work and to ensure transparency and accountability to residents, which I have already started circulating to the Stabilization and Reform (STAR) Board for review. New leadership at DCHA is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and root out bad actors, fix broken systems, and build back trust with residents. Progress on that shared goal will only come with intensive and continuous oversight of the agency at all levels to ensure it is meeting its mission.