(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson introduced legislation that creates a new Stabilization and Reform Board overseeing the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). This eight-member board, which will replace the existing DCHA Board of Commissioners, will provide the governance to DCHA to address the findings outlined in the recent report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as create a more sustainable path forward for DCHA. The creation of the board builds on the District’s commitment to provide DCHA with the resources necessary to ensure safe, dignified, and affordable housing.
“This streamlined reform board will ensure that we are not only addressing the issues raised by HUD, but that the agency is living up to our belief that a safe and stable life begins with safe and stable housing,” said Mayor Bowser. “DCHA needs an agile board, comprised of experts who understand these issues deeply, so that we can deliver the housing DCHA residents deserve and that our community deserves.”
“It’s understood that Public Housing Authority is not working very well, the challenge for us is to turn the Authority around and do it in an orderly fashion while we get a new Executive Director next year,” said Chairman Mendelson. “This legislation helps to stabilize the Authority and ensure that we don’t see more turnover at the top while working this out.”
The seven voting members of the Board, appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the DC Council, will be:
- Reverend Jim Dickerson has more than 45 years of experience in affordable housing development and operations, including founding MANNA, Inc., which provides low- and moderate-income families with quality affordable homeownership and housing choices.
- Jessica Haynes-Franklin is a real estate professional with experience in affordable housing development and capital project financing having served with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development.
- Melissa Lee is the Senior Vice President of Capital and Investments at The Menkiti Group where she is responsible for the capital, investment, and fund management activities of the organization. She has over two decades of finance experience with expertise in investment management and treasury management across multiple industries. She previously oversaw a $2+ billion real estate portfolio at the Maryland State Retirement & Pension System and served as the Director of Treasury Operations at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
- Christopher Murphy serves as Georgetown University’s first Vice President for Government Relations and Community Engagement where he coordinates the university’s strategic engagement with the federal and District governments, community organizations and leaders, and the Georgetown neighborhood. Murphy previously served as deputy chief of staff to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and chief of staff to former DC Mayor Vincent Gray.
- Raymond A. Skinner is an affordable housing advocate and an active leader in the housing and community development industry who has spent the bulk of his 50-year professional career in public service, including holding several executive appointed positions in state and local government. For fifteen years, Skinner served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, leading a staff of 300 and managing the state’s housing finance, mortgage insurance, community development, and building code programs.
- The DCHA resident who serves as President of the DCHA City Wide Advisory Board
- The Director of the Office of Budget and Performance Management
- The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or a designee from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer will serve as an ex officio, non-voting member. Raymond Skinner will serve as Chairperson of the Board.
The short-term and long-term needs of DCHA will require the Board to institute sound governance procedures to refine contracting and procurement processes and monitor executive training and performance to assure the agency fulfills its mission, including:
- Developing and implementing a plan to increase occupancy of housing units owned, operated, or managed by DCHA;
- Identifying individual residential units in substandard condition and bringing them into a state of good repair;
- Developing and implementing a sustainable property maintenance plan; and
- Improving the management of the wait list for housing units.
The Stabilization and Reform Board, which will be in place for three years, will also provide recommendations to the Mayor and the Council for the structure of a successor board of directors to lead DCHA.