DCHA Reaches Settlement With D.C. Attorney General Following Tenant Endangerment Lawsuit
Washington's public housing agency has agreed to invest over $3M in security measures after D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine sued it for endangering its residents.
The D.C. Housing Authority announced Tuesday it reached a settlement with the Office of the Attorney General, outlining new crime prevention plans at 10 properties where Racine said it had neglected to protect its tenants.
Racine's office sued DCHA in July claiming DCHA failed to respond or engage with the District on safety issues at 10 of its properties where the Metropolitan Police Department responded to over 5,200 incidents, including multiple homicides, from January 2019 to May 2020.
DCHA has agreed to invest $2.3M in high-definition security cameras, $935K in upgraded exterior lighting and $100K per year for the next five years for a violence interruption program. The agency said it will inspect its properties daily to ensure the lights and cameras are functioning, and it will report to AOG monthly to ensure compliance with the agreement.
“We appreciate the seriousness with which DCHA and its leadership team addressed OAG’s concern to reach a quick and just resolution of the lawsuit," Racine said in a statement. "The agreed upon changes should result in reduced dangerous illegal activity at the properties, eliminate blight, and provide residents at these properties more of a voice in how safety issues are handled."
The lawsuit focused on 10 properties across the District that comprise 2,567 units and house more than 5,000 people. The property with the most incidents, MPD said, was the James Creek Apartments at 1265 Half St. SW, two blocks from Nationals Park.
The communities are part of DCHA's 56-property portfolio that totals more than 8,000 units. It is also working on a plan to renovate at least 2,400 of its units.
“The health and safety of our residents is extremely important to me,” DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett said in a release. “Through collaboration with OAG, we created enhanced security plans for our properties and have already begun much of the work outlined in the agreement."