DC Attorney General Karl Racine announced Tuesday that his office filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), an independent agency that provides housing for low-income residents, for endangering more than 5,000 tenants at 10 public housing properties.
Racine also accuses the DCHA of endangering the surrounding communities in Wards 1, 5, 6, and 7, “by failing to confront drug- and firearm-related nuisances at the properties.”
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has responded to over 5,270 incidents at the properties, including homicides, from January 2019 – May 2020, however, DCHA has failed to respond to complaints from the residents, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said in a statement.
DCHA did not take action even after receiving notices and requests from the OAG, which recommended that the agency increase security presence, lighting, and security cameras.
#BREAKING: We're suing @DC_Housing for endangering thousands of tenants at 10 public housing properties after numerous complaints from residents and more than 5,270 incidents MPD has responded to since January 2019: https://t.co/KYEjWhyQKp
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) June 9, 2020
The lawsuit aims at obtaining a court order to force DCHA to make necessary security improvements to its properties to protect District residents.
“District law requires building owners such as DCHA to maintain their properties and take reasonable precautions to protect their tenants and properties from crime,” said Racine, who shared the news of the lawsuit in a tweet with the hashtag #Breaking.
“In response to complaints from residents, our office repeatedly warned DCHA about dangerous and illegal activity at their properties, putting tenants—especially children, seniors, and residents with disabilities—at risk. Following DCHA’s inaction, the Office of the Attorney General filed suit to force the agency to make reasonable, but critical, improvements in the maintenance and security of the properties.”
The properties mentioned in the lawsuit include Kenilworth Courts Apartments, Langston Terrace and Additions, Lincoln Heights Apartments, and Richardson Dwellings Apartments in Northeast; LeDroit Apartments and Kelly Miller Apartments in Northwest; James Creek Apartments and Syphax Gardens Apartments in Southwest; and Benning Terrace Apartments, Stoddert Terrace Apartments, and the former Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Apartments in Southeast.