D.C. Housing Authority officials say they plan to comply with local and federal rules requiring the agency to ensure rents for low-income voucher holders are not paid at above-market rates, but they are not ready to detail how.
The move is a reversal for agency head Brenda Donald, who dismissed an internal memo by her predecessor warning about the problem and last year sided with landlords and developers who were pushing to prevent lower payments. She is now revisiting the issue after discussions with federal housing officials who delivered a scathing report in September flagging the problem, among many others.
Donald told the board on Wednesday she wouldn’t yet preview DCHA’s plans. “Because we’re not ready, and we’re not ready for all of the comments and reactions,” she said.
Last month, a Washington Post investigation found the agency overpays landlords by millions of dollars every year because it doesn’t check to ensure subsidized rents are in line with market rates. The Post found, and Donald acknowledged in an interview, that DCHA has no process for setting rents, other than staying under rent caps that were put in place years ago for large swaths of the city with little regard for market rates. If a landlord asks for the cap, that’s what DCHA pays.
Click here to read the rest of the article written by Steve Thompson over at Washington Post
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