Resolution 2021-07-16R10 Sign on letter to break up DCRA

Resolution text:
DC JWJ is asking that the chapter sign on to the following letter:

Dear Mayor Bowser, Chairman Mendelson and members of the DC Council,

We call on the Council of the District of Columbia to fully fund the Department of Buildings Establishment Act in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. In addition, we call on Mayor Bowser to act quickly to establish the new agency when it is funded this fall.

The collapse of the building on Kennedy Street is another stark example of the continued failures of Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and how those failures continue to endanger the lives of the District’s residents. Documented failures on this building led to worker injuries and caused an unknown amount of damage to neighboring properties.

The agency’s mission to serve employers, workers, landlords, and tenants is grounded in conflict. While improvements have been made in services for business owners, construction owners and licensees, the most vulnerable among us are left behind. Workers, tenants, buyers, and neighbors continue to find the agency unresponsive to their needs, including a well-documented lack of enforcement of required licenses and permits.

The Office of the Attorney General has taken action against several landlords whose mostly Black and Brown tenants had to endure abhorrent living conditions. These issues, among many others, should have been among those already addressed by DCRA.

We believe that the creation of the Department of Buildings with a focus on enforcement is the only way to address these problems that DCRA has failed to solve for far too long.

All steering members voted to sign onto the letter.