Report from 1/27/21 DHA Board Action + Next Steps

Report from 1/27/21 DHA Board Action + Next Steps

"Zoom meeting with DHA is full."
"Couldn't get in."
"I'm in the waiting room."
"Getting a message the meeting is already at capacity!"
"Couldn't get in -- want a full report :)"

- A compilation of text threads from Durham CAN leaders the evening of January 27, 2021, based on true events.

Last night, over 80 Durham CAN leaders attended Durham Housing Authority (DHA) Board Meeting in support of our proposal calling for reforms to DHA's eviction policies and practices. An additional 80 Durham CAN leaders tried to attend and were unsuccessful due to the 100 person limit on DHA's Zoom account. When we asked DHA to invest in "a more spacious Zoom account" for future meetings as a way to lower barriers and increase access for public participation, DHA Board Chair Dan Hudgins responded:

"We weren't expecting this number and obviously we didn't have the capacity.
We've never had this many attend a meeting before -- either in person or online..."

Ms. Ava Thompson from Holy Infant Catholic Church spoke during the public comment period about our proposal to the DHA Board of Commissioners with the goal of changing the current eviction policies at the DHA. Ms. Jane Williams from First Presbyterian Church restated the request we made 3 weeks ago for a copy of DHA's Eviction Policy -- which is not publicly available or included in DHA leases we've reviewed.

Following public comment, the DHA Board held a public hearing regarding DHA's proposal to issue $9 million in tax-exempt, multifamily housing revenue bonds to finance the construction of JJ Henderson Seniors. Ms. Heather Ladd from Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Rev. Tanya Johnson from Abundant Hope Christian Church, and Ms. Lorisa Seibel from the People's Alliance, spoke powerfully about the experiences of DHA neighbors who are currently being displaced due to current disrepair in their units and serious structural issues in the newly renovated units following RAD conversion.

We also joined in the sentiments expressed by Ward 1 Durham City Council Member DeDreana Freeman in welcoming Pastor Pebbles Lucas from First Chronicles Church as the newest member of the DHA Board of Commissioners.

Chair Hudgins has invited Durham CAN to discuss our proposal with the DHA Operations Committee at its February meeting on Tuesday, February 16th at 2:00 pm.

Next Steps:

  1. Plan to attend the DHA Operations Committee Meeting on February 16th at 2pm where the eviction proposal will be discussed and reply to confirm a turn out pledge from your member institution. 
  2. If you are a DHA resident or know a DHA resident who has an experience with evictions that they'd like to share at the Operations Committee Meeting, email Mr. Ajax Woolley at [email protected]
  3. Help us research other public housing authority eviction policies over the next two weeks. If you're interested and available, email Mr. TJ Bryant at [email protected]