The District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Executive Director Adrianne Todman testified before the D.C. Council’s Budget Oversight Hearing on Housing and Community Development on April 21.
Director Todman thanked the D.C. Council for proposed FY2017 funding that supports affordable housing but noted that more is always welcome, especially for the agency’s police force.
The proposed budget includes a $59.4 million subsidy to support the Local Rent Subsidy Program and DCHA’s Office of Public Safety.
“I would like to thank the mayor and city administrator for proposing a [local] subsidy that supports the mission of the housing authority and provides affordable housing for over 4,000 low-income District of Columbia families,” Todman said.
Todman added that the federal government has not fully funded housing authorities nor addressed the growing needs they face. She said she appreciates the District stepping up to help fill some of the resulting financial gaps.
Most of the subsidy from the city is for the Local Rent Supplement Program, and a smaller assistance initiative called D.C. Local. The mayor’s proposed budget includes $6 million in new funding for the program. The current funding levels provide subsidies to 4,000 families. This $6 million will help 500 households more than last year through the “Homeward DC” plan, which uses LRSP funding for targeted affordable housing and permanent supportive housing.
“This local money is integrated into units all over the city,” Todman said. “You don’t recognize them because they are new units.”
The remaining $4 million for the subsidy is earmarked for the Office of Public Safety, which since the 1990s has helped prevent and reduce crimes in the community. DCHA’s officers have the same level of authority and jurisdiction as those within the Metropolitan Police Department.
“Our public safety force works closely with the Metropolitan Police Department and serves as a key part of our management operations. The $4 million allocation provides less than half of the operating costs for this department and is the same amount DCHA has received for the past 10 years,” Todman said. “On behalf of the entire DCHA team and the almost 20,000 housing residents we serve, we respectfully request that the committee and council approve at least this funding level and consider an enhancement that will assist with a targeted patrol initiative DCHA is undertaking in response to criminal activities.”
The council and DCHA also are working to create a funding mechanism that will allow DCHA to use unspent local subsidy funds on capital repairs and improvements.