CM Robert White Statement on Announcement of new Permanent Executive Director at DC Housing Authority

Today the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) Stabilization and Reform (STAR) Board voted to appoint Keith Pettigrew as DCHA’s Executive Director. I am encouraged that Mr. Pettigrew has an extensive professional background in public housing authority administration, coming most recently from the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and also brings with him the lived experience of growing up in DC’s public housing. Last year, the Council mandated that the STAR Board consult with a wide range of stakeholders, including resident leaders, as part of their Executive Director selection process. I urged the STAR Board to select a permanent director who has experience with housing and is independent–driven to accomplish the mission of DCHA, not by political loyalties–so I am very encouraged by their appointment of incoming Director Pettigrew.

Every week, my team and I hear from residents who are relying on DCHA to keep making improvements, and as chair of the Committee on Housing I have focused on getting DCHA stable and working to get the agency what they need to support our residents’ housing. I’ve secured dedicated annual funding of about $75 million a year for DCHA’s public housing maintenance and repair work starting in 2028. I also led the Council to place limits on bonus compensation at DCHA, to require monthly transparency reports, and to start annual outside audits of the agency’s finances. I’m doing serious oversight beyond the Council’s annual hearing cycles, including holding hearings on proposed voucher policy changes and sharing whistleblower complaints with the Office of the Inspector General. Additionally, I have scheduled an oversight roundtable for this fall to check in with DCHA leadership on critical outstanding questions from last year’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) investigation. I’m committed to bringing the Committee on Housing to the community to hear direct feedback from residents, with recent resource fairs and discussions in Wards 7 and 8, and regular site visits to DCHA properties.

The STAR Board’s work to bring in Director Pettigrew is an important milestone for the agency, and I am grateful for their work to get us here. I look forward to working with Director Pettigrew to permanently strengthen DCHA and to ensure open, transparent, and productive oversight. We have to focus on building trust between residents and our housing authority. Effective leadership and staff committed to meeting the agency’s mission of getting people safe, dignified housing are crucial. We must ensure integrity within the agency and fix systems that are not working for residents. Director Pettigrew’s appointment is a critical step in the right direction, and I am committed to working with Director Pettigrew, the STAR Board, and my colleagues on the Committee on Housing to turn around this agency for District residents.

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