DC Housing Authority appoints Keith Pettigrew as new executive director

The man now tasked with revamping D.C.'s Housing Authority is a native Washingtonian with nearly two decades of experience in public housing. 

DCHA's Stabilization and Reform Board announced Wednesday that Keith L. Pettigrew will take over as executive director of the agency in the midst of an overhaul. 

While he currently serves as CEO and president of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Pettigrew will be returning to his roots at DCHA, where in 2000, he began the public housing portion of his career. Throughout his stint at DCHA, Pettigrew held several management positions, including senior management advisor and senior deputy director for human resources. 

"Returning to lead DCHA, the housing authority in which I grew up, is both the culmination of my professional career and a very personal milestone," Pettigrew said in a statement. "I owe this to my mother, who raised me and my siblings to always help people. I have a passion for working in public housing because it provides me the opportunity to improve the quality of life for people in need. I look forward to meeting and working with the staff, Board, residents, fellow Washingtonians and stakeholders to make DCHA a model for public housing. And I hope to be an example for DCHA residents that through hard work you can achieve your goals." 

Keith L. Pettigrew will take over as executive director of DCHA in November. 

"The STAR Board would like to express its sincerest thanks to Dorian Jenkins for his commitment and willingness to serve in what has been a most challenging time for DCHA," said Board Chairman Raymond Skinner. "In Keith L. Pettigrew, DCHA has found a driven leader who understands our past and has a clear vision for a better future. Keith is a D.C. native, a product of D.C. public housing and a graduate of D.C. Public Schools. He has committed his life to serving the public, and to meeting the need for public housing. He has proven himself time and again to be focused, creative and tenacious in his pursuit to resolve complex issues and create lasting positive change. We have no doubt he will bring this to DCHA." 

DCHA's former director Brenda Donald announced her resignation in early May and stepped down during the summer. She faced criticism from D.C. council members for her leadership and a scathing 72-page report issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in October 2022 highlighted several issues ranging from mismanagement of funds to public safety. Mayor Muriel Bowser pushed to dissolve DCHA's governing board after the federal report, proposing legislation alongside D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to create the Stabilization and Reform Board that now oversees the agency. 

DCHA says over 50 people applied for the executive director position. 

Pettigrew is expected to start his new role on Nov. 1. Until then, Dorian Jenkins, who has led DCHA in a temporary capacity since July 2023, will continue as the interim executive director.