WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — On Wednesday, the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) answered tough questions in front of the DC Council.
It comes after a report from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) detailed complaints.
“An incredibly high rate of homes that are vacant and in disrepair, a lack of trust between residents and the agency,” Councilmember Robert White said.
HUD challenged DCHA to fix the ongoing issues.
“We’re here today to discuss our responses to the Sept. 30 HUD report,” DCHA Executive Director Brenda Donald said.
“We have been chipping away at the waitlist. It was over 40,000 when I got here. In the last year and a half, we have housed over 3,000 people,” she said.
Donald admitted that changes were needed, but she disagreed on some areas of the report.
“14 of the findings have either been fully corrected, or we are disagreeing with them, included areas where HUD believed we need to pay back dollars. Those we have pushed back on,” she said. “Beginning in January, we plan to host mass eligibility events for 3,500 to 5,000 invited applicants from our public housing waitlist.”
But council members still have lots of questions for the city’s largest landlord, about how the agency is being managed.
“What is the total amount of money that HUD has stated you owe back, and how much of that money has been paid, if any?” asked Councilmember Brooke Pinto.
“We have to have the conversation with HUD, and their response to our pushback…to see if they agree, if they disagree then it’s a negotiation. We don’t know the magnitude of that exposure,” Donald said.
“I’m concerned that if the consultants were necessary…why didn’t we bring these consultants on a year ago, or a year and a half ago?” asked Councilmember White.