DC Attorney General Karl Racine Sues Municipal Housing Authority Again

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DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine’s (D) office on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the city’s housing authority, alleging widespread discrimination against people with disabilities, some of whom waited until a decade for housing that meets their needs.

The civil suit, filed in Superior District Court, is the latest in a series of issues for the DC Housing Authority, which operates independently of the city and serves about 50,000 low-income residents, about one-fifth of whom are disabled.

Last fall, Neil Albert, the chair of the DCHA board, resigned amid conflict of interest questions, including his vote for a resolution that included his partner’s business among the law firms. qualified architects to receive millions of dollars in contracts. A few days later, the DC Council Housing Committee requested an investigation by the Office of Inspector General in ‘a disturbing pattern’ of unethical and ‘potentially criminal’ behavior at the agency. This investigation is ongoing.

DCHA board chair resigns amid conflict of interest questions

In 2020, Racine’s office sued the authority over allegations that it failed to address drug and gun-related nuisances at 10 properties, an action that forced the agency to bring improvements to the security of these properties.

In Thursday’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, Racine’s office alleges the authority forced more than 250 tenants with disabilities to wait years for reasonable accommodations after proving it was necessary.

In one case, a tenant who requested a wheelchair-accessible unit in 2017 had to rely on others to transport her to and from her fourth-floor apartment so she could make her medical appointments, the suit alleges. . The woman died last year, still awaiting her new unit, the complaint states.

In another case, a bedridden and immobile tenant asked for a two-bedroom unit so that her daughter could serve as a night watchman. Although that request was approved a year ago, it has yet to be met, the lawsuit says, forcing the woman’s daughter to install a camera in the house to monitor her mother as she sleeps.

DC’s development skyrocketed under Bowser. The same goes for housing costs.

“This complaint makes clear that DCHA has repeatedly failed in its legal responsibility to accommodate residents of the District who have physical disabilities with safe and accessible housing,” Racine said in a statement.

DCHA spokeswoman Sheila Lewis declined to comment on Thursday, saying the authority had not yet reviewed the complaint.

“After seeking to persuade DCHA to address these safety and quality of life issues, we had no choice but to file this case to ensure tenants with disabilities receive the accommodations required by law,” Racine said. in his press release.

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