A day after DC News Now asked Mayor Bowser about the council’s frustrations with the DC Housing Authority (DCHA), the council voted to take action.

They unanimously passed the Housing Authority Accountability Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, which was introduced by Councilmember Elissa Silverman.

“In response to a severe federal Department of Housing and Urban Development report. The report found that the authority’s executive director and many board members lack knowledge of public housing management and have not taken an active role in oversight,” Silverman said.  “The emergency legislation stipulates training topics, including the role of a board, ethics, public housing, fair housing, public housing financial oversight, and federal procurement requirements, among other topics.”

Mayor Bowser now has ten days to sign or veto the bill.

Several councilmembers confirmed seeing disturbing conditions in public housing units in their wards, in the legislative session on Tuesday.

“I visited public housing buildings for seniors, over the summer, where only 6 of the 22 units were presently occupied,” Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George said.

“Residents talk about the mice, that ran through their apartments, I talked with one resident who has duct taped their kitchen cabinets to try to help keep the mice from coming into the kitchen,” Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen said.

Shortly after the vote, DC’s Housing Authority confirmed to DC News Now that Deputy Executive Director Victor Martinez has resigned.

“Victor submitted his resignation in September, prior to the release of the HUD report. His last day with the agency was Oct. 7,” DCHA spokeswoman Sheila Lewis said.

DCHA also commented on the council’s latest decision.

“The D.C. Housing Authority is open to providing the Council’s requested reports when the timing for submission is aligned with the normal HUD timeline and oversight process. Going forward, we welcome a collaborative conversation and are available to meet with any and all councilmembers to share our action steps as we are all working toward the same goal, to provide safe, affordable housing for those who need it most in the District,” Lewis said.

“We are disappointed that the Council did not discuss the emergency legislation with the agency before presenting the proposal for a vote today.  The agency has 60 days to respond to the HUD assessment report where we will support or dispute findings, observations and recommendations, and will create a corrective action plan, where applicable,” she continued.

DCHA Board of Commissioners are scheduled to meet at 1:00 p.m., on Nov. 9.

An agenda will be shared 48 hours before.