DCHA Director Brenda Donald faces more criticism over HUD report

Several D.C. council members say the District's housing authority director isn't doing enough to fix the glaring issues highlighted in a recent report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The council called DCHA Director Brenda Donald to a roundtable meeting Wednesday to discuss what the agency is doing to address the problems listed in the September report that found poor living conditions, rundown residences, long wait lists, procurement problems with management, and oversight failures throughout DCHA. 

The council said $232 million in D.C. taxpayer money has gone to the D.C. Housing Authority this year alone, but the upgrades have been few and far between. 

"I’ve seen children the same age as mine living with visible mold and mildew as their lungs are growing," Councilmember Robert White said during the meeting. 

RELATED: 'We are going to fix things': DCHA director responds to HUD report

Councilmember Brooke Pinto said that over the last several weeks the council has heard from DCHA leadership directly that the issues raised in the HUD report were not a surprise. 

Donald told the council Wednesday that she isn't taking the problems the audit brought up lightly. 

"We take them very seriously," she said during the roundtable. "We’re not surprised because we live with this every day that we are in this agency."

Adding fuel to the fire, it was revealed Wednesday that Director Donald gave bonuses to her executive staff shortly after the HUD report was issued. 

Outgoing Councilmember Elissa Silverman told FOX 5 that after eight years in office, Mayor Bowser is ultimately responsible for the widespread problems at the D.C. Housing Authority. 

"Brenda Donald’s only been there for 16-17 months," Silverman said. "She inherited a lot of these problems, but the Bowser Administration has been in office for eight years. They have appointed the housing directors in the past."

RELATED: HUD report calls out failures of DC Housing Authority leadership

Last month, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine questioned Donald's hiring by Mayor Bowser saying "clearly loyalty trumped expertise." 

FOX 5 was told the mayor wasn't available for an interview, but she released a three-page letter directed to U.S. Housing Secretary Marsha Fudge in which she claimed: "Director Donald and her team have already made progress in addressing some of the more serious issues."