The executive director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority continued his series of town hall conversations this month, listening to customers’ ideas and issues, while also keeping them informed of new initiatives.

DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett visited the Fort Lincoln and Benning Terrace communities during the week of March 19. Residents filled their community rooms to hear news directly from the authority’s new leader. Garrett said he will visit each DCHA community to give everyone who wants an opportunity to share their thoughts with him that chance.

“I’m tangible. I’m touchable. I’ll be around and you will see me,” Garrett said at a recent town hall. “I am not going to be a stranger. Please don’t be a stranger to me.”

In addition to visiting each traditional public housing community in D.C., Garrett also recently started one-on-one meetings with residents to listen to ideas, concerns, and other issues

“I’ve been hearing about issues and trying to figure out how to address them,” he said. “I want you to know who I am and that my administration cares. We want to provide you with the quality of life you deserve.”

He explained his recent initiative called the modified apprentice program. Garrett hired customers interested in learning various forms of building maintenance for a six-month trial program for DCHA customers. Once trained, they will respond to outstanding maintenance requests and other tasks that will help spruce up DCHA properties.

“The idea is that it will free up our maintenance staff from smaller, but still important tasks, so they can focus on larger fixes,” Garrett said. “The program also gives our young people an opportunity to work and empowers them with skills to they can use in the future.”

Garrett said that he is taking a close look at each department within DCHA to find more efficiencies and improve operations. He also is adding more training in a number of areas including maintenance and customer service, he said. Garrett explained he’d like to create a long-term plan for major maintenance repairs and add more automation to help employees to streamline their work.

Customers asked him about maintenance requests, ducts, health aides, and much more. Garrett answered the questions that he could or promised to get back to the person with the correct answer if he couldn’t answer it at the time.

“We hear what you are saying,” he said to the crowd. “I’m not running from the issues we have. I’m going to face them up front and figure out how to solve them for you.”

One customer with a walker suggested DCHA supply rubber mats for apartments’ doors to avoid the marks left from wheelchairs, walkers, and other equipment residents use to get around.

“Everyone has different needs. I would have never thought of that without you telling me,” Garrett said.

After hearing some public safety concerns, Garrett explained his upcoming Summer of Safety initiative. He plans to recruit and hire several DCHA customers to become safety officers to supplement the agency’s sworn police officers. He also is charging staff to replace broken lights and add more to dark areas. Garrett is even introducing new employee identification to ensure residents can easily identify who is working in their building.

As Garrett makes his way to each community, customers will be notified via texts, emails, and flyers. They will have an opportunity to pre-register by calling 202-535-1000 or register on site.

At each meeting there is DCHA staff on hand to record ideas, questions, and fill out work orders as necessary. Customers will be given opportunities to follow up with more questions or ideas after the conversation.  Also, a quarterly report to track the commitments made and successful completion of tasks will be created.

The one-on-one meetings are being scheduled on a case by case basis.


Last modified: 4/19/2018 5:08:31 PM