WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — In a new letter, Attorney General Karl Racine is urging the D.C. Council to vote ‘no’ on the mayor’s proposal to replace the current thirteen-member housing authority board of commissioners.
“The DC Housing Authority (DCHA) desperately needs reform. But not all change is for the better, and the Board reform proposals in the current and amended forms of this bill will not deliver the solutions DCHA needs. Indeed, these changes will further exacerbate the problems plaguing the agency,” Racine said on Tuesday.
The housing authority has been under fire, since a September report from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which found that the agency lacked proper oversight and management and failed “to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing opportunities for residents.”
On Monday, Chairman Phil Mendelson said he would support a slightly larger number than the number proposed by Mayor Bowser.
“What I’ll be circulating will increase the size from 7 to 9,” Mendelson said.
The topic was expected to be discussed at the D.C. Council’s legislative meeting, which was delayed – due to a long list of important topics on the city leaders’ agenda.
“The housing authority will be harder to find a new director… if this instability continues,” Mendelson said on Monday.
“By removing outspoken critics of the agency and ignoring the will of public housing tenants and voucher-holders, these proposals threaten to push DCHA further down the wrong track,” Mendelson said. “These are the very people who have been sounding the alarm for years about the dysfunction and incompetence at the agency that the department of housing and urban development (HUD) confirmed in its scathing report.”
“The primary responsibility of the new board will be to oversee the reform and revitalization of DCHA and to ensure the robust implementation of a work plan to address the issues raised in the recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recent report on the operations of DCHA. The new board will also make recommendations to create a sustainable infrastructure necessary,” Mayor Bowser said in a letter to the council on Dec. 2.