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D.C. Plans To Reposition Over 2,400 Public Housing Units In 2 Years

The D.C. Housing Authority headquarters on North Capitol Street

Thousands of D.C.'s public housing units have deteriorated into poor condition, and the District is now moving forward with steps for a large-scale repositioning plan. 

The D.C. Housing Authority announced Friday it plans to renovate at least 2,400 units over a 24-month period.

DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett said he plans to present a comprehensive repositioning plan within the next 60 days and solicit public feedback before the agency's board of commissioners reviews it in the middle of this year. Garrett, in an email to Bisnow, said decreased federal spending on public housing has contributed to the poor state of DCHA's communities. 

"The D.C. Housing Authority is facing a monumental crisis, but we are not alone," Garrett said. "For two decades and in plain sight, the federal government has steadily reduced its commitment to public policies and programs that provide a hand-up to working poor citizens, our children, our elders and our disabled neighbors." 

The plan follows DCHA's release of an audit in December that found roughly 7,000 of its over 8,300 units had deteriorated, the Washington City Paper reported. The audit classified nearly one-third of its portfolio, roughly 2,500 homes, as "extremely urgent." These units house over 5,000 residents, including 1,483 children and 937 elderly people, Garrett said. 

"The homes are in such disrepair that any further delay could affect the health and safety of residents who live there," Garrett said. 

Another roughly 4,500 units were designated as "very urgent." The agency's board voted in January to establish a plan to address the conditions. Some advocates have told the City Paper the agency's plans would amount to privatizing large portions of the public housing. 

Garrett said the agency plans to use a variety of financing approaches to push its repositioning efforts forward, but he said it is not fully disposing of assets. 

"DCHA is not considering selling off properties, but rather, we are unlocking access to private equity to assist our residents," Garrett said. "Full dependence on federal funding is not an option."

Related Topics: DC Housing Authority