An Open Letter to Chair of the DC Council’s Housing and Executive Administration Committee, Council
October 15, 2021
Dear Chairwoman Bonds,
At a recent program on affordable housing sponsored by the Cleveland Park Congregational United Church of Christ, a call was raised for action on the recent Office of the Inspector General’s report released August 30,2021 that outlines serious failures at the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF).
The report is not the first instance of failures at the department, as seen in an audit from 2017 by the DC Auditor.
We are alarmed by these findings, especially those that show that our neighbors who are living with the lowest incomes are the ones who are bearing the brunt of the agency’s failures.
We call on you, as Chair of the Council Housing and Executive Administration, to hold public hearings immediately to respond to the findings in these reports. Please require all officials responsible for remedying these failures to report in public on their concrete plans to ensure that the failures have been corrected and that they cannot recur. This includes, but is by no means limited to, the following:
Fully complying with the statutory requirement that 50% of HPTF’s fund is spent for housing for extremely low-income households (below 30% of the area median income).
Agreeing to all the report’s recommendations to strengthen the procurement process, especially requiring conflict of interest disclosures from employees involved in the project selection process.
Holding quarterly oversight hearings of the agency until it has demonstrated that it has moved forward and is ably completing its mission.
We believe that decent housing is foundational to a full and healthy life, and we want to see the agencies entrusted with housing the least fortunate among us are fulfilling their mission. We count on you to provide the oversight needed to make this a reality.
Margaret Dwyer, Convenor, Ward 3 Housing Justice, Panelist
Neil Flanagan, Writer and Architectural Designer, Panelist
Rev. Ellen Jennings, Cleveland Park Congregational Church, UCC
Emily Parker, Program Organizer, Cleveland Park Congregational Church, UCC
Cc: CM Kenyan McDuffie, CM Elissa Silverman, CM Vincent Gray, CM Trayon White, CM Robert White, CM Brooke Pinto, CM Phil Mendelson, CM Charles Allen, CM Brianne