On Friday, January 31, 2020, Councilmember Anita Bonds who chairs the DC Council Housing Committee, hosted a hearing on the DC Department of Housing Authority (DCHA) and their “respositioning” plan for DC’s public housing stock — real homes where real people live and have real personal and professional networks.
Some public housing residents were in attendance and testified to the deplorable conditions that Chairwoman Bonds has heard about with public housing continually for years — mold, pipes leaking, rodents, infrastructure, etc.
There were ANC Commissioners and Ward 6 Public Housing residents there, like Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton who says she knows of pets living in better conditions than that provided at housing managed by DCHA.
There were other residents testifying from Greenleaf Public Housing in the Southwest, DC, Ward 6, testifying about the terrible living conditions that must be repaired now, not over a 17-year DCHA plan.
Mrs. Shawnta High, President of the Park Morton Residents Council in Ward 1 describes how DCHA has begun the plan to “revitalize” her community. She speaks about being thrown out of her home of nearly twenty years by DCHA’s repositioning plan.
Denise Thomas lives/ed in Ward 7’s Kenilworth Gardens, which has seen DCHA begin its “repositioning” on her home and neighborhood and how its destroying all of it.
Chris Otten, a DCHA client in Ward 1, describes what it is like living in a DCHA-subsidized unit that is managed by a private slumlord with toxic dust and mildew never being remedied.
Paulette Matthews, bounced from Barry Farms Public Housing in Ward 8, now lives in Ward 1, who describes the horrendous disruption from displacement and how it has changed her life and that of her family.
Councilmember Elissa Silverman actually sums it up DCHA’s “repositioning” plan during her opening remarks:
I am extremely concerned that DCHA is not just drifting away from serving its most vulnerable residents but deliberately abandoning our most vulnerable residents. I fear that DCHA has grown into an appendage of the real-estate division of our Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). And, this is going to lead to the continued gentrification of our city.