The mayor of the District of Columbia, city officials, community activists, members of the development and housing industry, and other partner organizations celebrated the work of the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s outgoing executive director at a recent event.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said she always celebrates when a D.C. leader, like DCHA’s outgoing Executive Director Adrianne Todman, takes on a national role because it reflects well on the District.

“I’m very happy that our housing authority produced a national leader,” said Bowser, who noted DCHA is national leader among housing authorities. “Another hallmark of a great leader is leaving behind a great team. I know we won’t miss a beat.”

Todman announced in April that she will leave DCHA on June 1, 2017 to become the first female CEO of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). NAHRO is the leading housing and community development advocacy organization that promotes affordable housing policy for all Americans, particularly those with low- and moderate-incomes. The nearly 20,000-member organization is comprised of community development agencies, housing authorities, and individuals, among others. NAHRO’s members provide homes to nearly 8 million low-income households.

Todman has led DCHA since 2009 and served as both interim and executive director of the agency that provides housing to more than 50,000 residents and is the largest affordable housing provider in the District of Columbia.

Bowser, who praised the room full of people dedicated to the preservation and creation of affordable housing for all income levels for their hard work, presented Todman with a plaque thanking her for her service.

“Your efforts, among other, to house and assist our homeless veterans, open our first public assisted living facility—the Marigold, and help increase the number of affordable housing units for families, have been vital toward producing and preserving affordable housing units across Washington,” said Bowser as she read the plaque. “I am grateful for your service to Washingtonians, particularly to our most vulnerable residents, and for all that you did to make Washington, D.C. better, stronger, and more inclusive.”

DCHA Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Terri Thompson praised Todman’s ability to work through the complexities of affordable housing with the board and across district agencies.

“The residents are her motivation particularly the children, youth, and seniors. To see Adrianne’s face light up when she is at a community event is priceless,” Thompson said via video.

In her parting words to Todman, she said, “Adrianne, remember to continue to temper your passion and tenacity with the grace and humility that you show every day. You are petite in stature but you are a giant among your peers and we are so proud to have had you at the D.C. Housing Authority and look forward to working with you in days and years to come.”

Former Chairman of the DCHA Board of Commissioner Pedro Alfonso said he came into DCHA with a “blazing attitude” on how he wanted to run the authority. In his first meeting with Todman, he said, she spoke of her priorities to reduce the waitlist, assist more D.C. residents, and to turn in a spotless audit to HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) on time.

He said he asked her, “What waiting list? What are they waiting on? And what is a HUD?”

Alfonso said Todman said a brief prayer in response, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

“I had a lot to learn and what a person to learn from,” he said, praising Todman’s knowledge of the industry from her experience at both the federal and local levels. Alfonso said that by the time he left the agency, Todman had “led me in the right direction to make sure I did it right.”

DCHA’s Interim Executive Director Nathan Bovelle agreed and said that not only did Todman right the ship when she began leading the agency, but she “took the helm and plotted a course that she had the foresight to see” and “held the course masterfully” as she made her way on her eight year journey.

Todman thanked everyone for their kind words and hard work that assisted her on her course.

“It was a great honor of having one of the best jobs in D.C.,” Todman said. “Every night when I went to sleep I said, ‘I did the Lord’s work today.’”

She said, “I bequeath my continual sense of hope of what’s to come. The current is fleeting. Whatever is in that space, know there is a longer call. Keep hope, a positive spirit, and don’t let the dark days get you down. I wish courage and spirit to each of you.”

All photos credit: the Executive Office of the Mayor

Last modified: 6/5/2017 5:00:11 PM