City Paper is not for tourists
Empty Houses, Empty Promises Last month, Mayor Anthony A. Williams stood before a packed Lincoln Theatre to tout his administration’s success at improving city neighborhoods by selling off public housing units. As evidence, Williams explained how he and public housing receiver David Gilmore pushed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allow 24 public housing residents to buy their subsidized homes from the D.C. Housing Authority. It sounded like a perfect scenario—to everyone but those 24 public housing tenants. One tenant, speaking on the condition of anonymity, says HUD signed off on the sale two years ago, but that the housing authority still hasn’t processed the necessary paperwork. Residents, meanwhile, have remained on schedule, completing classes on homeownership, getting housing inspections, and arranging for bank financing. “They’re lying to the press. They’re lying to the mayor,” says the resident. D.C. Housing Authority spokesperson Arthur Jones says the prospective homebuyers should be patient. “Some people have been waiting eight years,” he says, explaining that the sales are exceedingly complicated. The tenants are now looking into hiring legal counsel to speed the process along.