Silverman Statement on Mayor’s D.C. Housing Authority Emergency Bill

Says DCHA needs “major reform overhaul” not window dressing


WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), a longtime member of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Executive Administration, released the following statement on legislation introduced Thursday by Mayor Muriel Bowser on the D.C. Housing Authority. The mayor’s emergency bill would abolish the current 13-member DCHA Board of Commissioners and replace it with a seven-member board, eliminating all but one of the DCHA resident members, the voucher representative, the legal community appointee, and the labor community appointee.

“The D.C. Housing Authority needs a Board of Commissioners independent of mayoral control that truly acts as a governing body, providing sound fiscal management and operational oversight while including and respecting the voices of the very residents it is supposed to serve. This proposal doesn’t do that, and it removes the very commissioners who have been ringing the alarm bells. What this does is use the window dressing of “stabilization and reform” to consolidate the mayor’s power and make this critical affordable housing agency an appendage of the administration and its economic development needs.

HUD’s scathing audit made it plain: The time for political gamesmanship and media optics is over. This problem didn’t happen overnight, and it can’t be solved overnight with a quick change of the board. Our housing authority is putting the lives of seniors and our most vulnerable children and families at risk, and it is failing in its mission. It needs a major reform overhaul that will put it  back in compliance with federal and local law, and it needs to operate in an effective and efficient way that provides critical affordable housing at a time when it is badly needed. 

I will be voting against the mayor’s emergency, and I will be encouraging my colleagues to do the same. I will also be introducing a comprehensive reform bill that really does address the systemic problems with the authority that I hope will be passed into law early next year.”