The District of Columbia Housing Authority has had a successful fiscal year, moving forward with its five mission-based goals that include creating opportunities for DCHA customers and increasing affordable housing in the District.

“I’m proud of the work we have done this fiscal year and the untraditional partnerships we’ve made,” said Executive Director Adrianne Todman at a recent Board of Commissioners meeting.

Goal: Create opportunities through collaborations and partnerships to improve the quality of life for DCHA customers

She highlighted the 10,000 Books campaign, the Department of Energy partnership to boost STEM subjects, and the ConnectHome federal internet program that will increase broadband internet connection opportunities for DCHA customers. The agency was one of 28 entities nationwide to receive the ConnectHome designation.

DCHA is working with Deloitte, Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, Enterprise Community Partners, and the United Way of the National Capital Area to empower families.

“The United Way will provide bonus points to those organizations that have committed to working with the housing authority,” she said. “This will leverage our ability to get really good service providers at our sites.”

The continued construction at Capitol Gateway has created 300 jobs – soon there will be more permanent jobs when a new Walmart is complete. The authority’s distribution of the New Market Tax Credits also has created some 550 job positions.

DCHA also partnered with Arcadia Foods and University of the District of Columbia to bring more healthy food options to its customers.

Goal: Increase access to quality affordable housing

As part of the agency’s goal to increase affordable housing, 2,232 families were housed from the waitlist this fiscal year, Todman reported. Another 19 customers became first-time home buyers, including nine who purchased at MetroTowns.

“You could not find more excited people to turn the key to their new home,” she said.

DCHA broke ground on 312 affordable units at Capitol Gateway and completed 327 new units as part of the final phase at Sheridan Station, a mixed-income community. Sheridan Station includes 247 affordable rentals and 80 affordable home ownership units.

“We are diligently trying to provide a path for families to improve their wealth,” Todman said of the new homeowners.

The District provided some $13.4 million in Local Rent Supplement Program voucher funding and is “bringing more landlords to the table” with a new voucher program, Mobility Counseling, she said. The program explains the voucher system to landlords in areas outside of Wards 7 and 8. Some 300 new units have been made available through this program, Todman said.

Goal: Provide livable housing to support healthy and sustainable communities

In addition to providing new housing opportunities, DCHA also offers its customers with healthy and sustainable communities. The agency and some of its community partners worked to beautify several properties this year, including building new playgrounds.

Regular security upgrades and maintenance, especially in the winter months, also improve customers’ quality of life. For example, at Potomac Gardens families who have lived in their units 10 or more years are getting fresh paint on their walls, beginning with families who have lived there the longest. Hot water storage tanks and window blinds also are being replaced. Many of these initiatives are resident driven, Todman said.

“If the residents don’t buy in, who are you leading?” added Commissioner Aquarius Vann-Ghasri.

Todman said that seniors at Potomac Gardens developed a Senior Strikeforce that acts as security and greeters when someone enters the building.

“There are innovative ways for folks to take ownership of their building,” Todman said.

Goal: Foster a collaborative work environment that is outcome-driven and meets the highest expectations of the affordable housing industry

The agency spent the past year engaging communities outside of its traditional customer base. Representatives met with new Congressional members and staff; housing officials from Indonesia, Kenya, Brazil, and South Korea; and the American Planning Association to foster collaborative work environments and educate them on best housing practices.

These best practices have received national recognition. The Capper-Carrollsburg redevelopment received the Urban Land Institute’s Impact Award. Parkside at MetroTowns also won a 2015 Pillar Award for Best Workforce Housing from the National Association of Home Builders. The agency’s process to rapidly house homeless veterans also was recognized as a national model, she said.

To continue meeting the highest expectations of the housing industry, DCHA launched The School for Progress to educate its employees on improving customer service, among other subject matters. Its Leadership Academy also had another successful year helping employees enhance their career paths.

Todman highlighted other new tools for its customers, including the Landlord Portal and Benefits GPS. The Landlord Portal allows landlords to check various statuses with the agency and provides forms and other useful information to cut down on office visits. Customers in public housing, using vouchers, or on the waitlist can use Benefits GPS to find new schools, training programs, apartments, and other benefits. Benefits GPS is a one-stop, online connection to federal and local benefits or services.

Customers “type in simple demographic information and our system will search for all the benefits – both locally and federally – that you are eligible for,” Todman told the crowd.  

Goal: Effectively communicate DCHA’s accomplishments and advocate for its mission

The new technology is featured on DCHA’s new website, which was unveiled this fiscal year. The authority also has increased its social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and most recently, Instagram. DCHA’s communications team continues to lay out strategic campaigns to highlight the good work being done throughout DCHA and its properties. 

Last modified: 10/27/2015 11:45:14 AM