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DC Residents Suffer from Failed Use of Housing Funds

Money Could have Gone Toward the Wardman Hotel

Ward 3 Housing Justice | Wardman Hotel Strategy Team


Contact: Gail Sonnemann, 202-286-0845,

DC residents are paying a heavy price for the District's persistent mismanagement of affordable housing funds. These constant failures are documented in two reports: the recent Office of the Inspector General’s report released August 30, 2021 and the 2017 audit by the DC Auditor. Both describe problems that the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is unable or unwilling to fix.

The Office of the Inspector General’s report released August 30, 2021 documents core mission failures by DHCD, particularly by the all-important Housing Production Trust Fund’s (HPTF) failure to produce affordable housing for extremely low-income households. DHCD is cited for almost $100 million of misused monies by :

  • Misdirecting $81.7 million from deeply affordable housing, and

  • Disbursing an additional $14.2 million more than requested in project proposals without any gain in affordable housing.

The current mission failure are apparently a continuation of the failures described in an audit from 2017 by the DC Auditor that found that:

  • Between 2009 and 2014, DHCD funnelled $16.6 million from the HPTF to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make up for the city’s “ineffective management of federal grants.”

  • The District has collected “far less” than it is owed in loans to developers over the years, limiting what could be a steady stream of repayments that would help replenish the trust fund’s finances.

  • DHCD was forced to give up $15.8 million for housing for the lowest income residents because they had repeatedly missed filing deadlines

“These failures are not without consequences for the residents of DC,” said Reginald Black, a leader of the Wardman Hotel Strategy Team (WHST). “The result is missed opportunities for the development of much needed housing, such as at the Wardman Hotel. If you add up all the millions that they have misdirected, mismanaged or just plain lost, they have wasted most of the cost of buying the Wardman, where we could have provided hundreds of mixed income affordable units, including family-size units.. They told us it was too expensive to buy the Wardman, but what is really expensive is the wasted money and opportunities at DHCD,” Black added. “And now, they have been entrusted with even more of our money. Where is the true accountability?”

“We welcome and want to meet soon with Drew Hubbard, Mayor Bowser’s new interim DHCD director,” said Margaret Dwyer, Convenor of Ward 3 Housing Justice (W3HJ). “We want to find out how he will correct the years-long pattern of failures at HPTF and DHCD and his plans for funding truly affordable housing across the city, including taking advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is the Wardman Hotel in Rock Creek West, a housing investment priority area.”

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