Councilmember Elissa Silverman
Elissa Silverman is an at-large member of the D.C. Council and chair of Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. Elissa believes that a transparent governing process helps ensure all residents' voices are heard. She is committed to improving the quality of life for residents in all eight wards.
Who would have thought, way back when, Chairman Mendelson, that you would be handing me a crystal bowl after serving as your at-large colleague for eight years on the D.C. Council?
Life is surprising, and certainly my political career in D.C. local politics was unexpected, and, in many ways, inexplicable.
For example, who would have predicted the October surprise of 2014 – Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry’s endorsement of me, a candidate whose initial campaign chair was Kathy Patterson?
Mr. Chairman, I unearthed this August 16, 1994 Washington Post story yesterday titled, “D.C. Housing Agency Hustles to Avoid Receivership Order.”
Let me read a paragraph that might sound familiar: “Disrepair of units, rampant crime…continue to erode living conditions for the 30,000 residents of 60 public housing developments….About one-fifth of the 11,796 public housing dwellings in the District are vacant and in need of significant repairs.”
And what does this story say? The Mayor argues about forward motion, important and meaningful reforms. And here we are, 30 years later, same situation.
We’ve known about deplorable housing conditions and DCHA dysfunction for decades. The alarm has been on since 1994, but we tune it out except when the press amplifies it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Councilmembers Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) and Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) on Wednesday announced legislation that will restructure, reform, and rebuild the D.C. Housing Authority from the ground up.
The legislation, which will be formally introduced Thursday, creates a housing authority with renewed focus on providing safe, dignified homes for low-income D.C. residents. It ensures that the redevelopment of housing authority properties prioritizes the needs of residents in search of deeply affordable housing in the District. It also strengthens the authority's board by requiring a diversity of expertise in low-income housing finance and development, public housing operations, legal services, and lived experience as a voucher recipient or current resident of public housing.
“The reformed agency will prioritize the needs of our lowest income residents, have new operational requirements to ameliorate habitability and vacancy deficiencies, and ensure transparent stewardship of District assets,” Pinto said. “Our public housing residents, voucher holders, and constituents deserve transparency, input, and our sustained commitment to comprehensive reforms that make certain our public housing authority delivers safe and decent housing to extremely and very low-income residents.”
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