As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the District of Columbia Housing Authority would like to acknowledge and honor the wonderful women resident council presidents on our senior and family properties. Women make up the majority of the residents on our properties and our resident council leadership. The position of a resident council president should not be taken lightly. Presidents make many sacrifices that often times go unnoticed. Each of our female resident council presidents is invaluable in her own way. Let us showcase the love and strength they show to our residents each day.
Ester Hardesty – Ester Hardesty is the president of Langston Terrace and has been serving as the resident council president since 2013. What she loves most about serving in this position is helping people and creating opportunities for the residents to succeed. She has been actively encouraging the residents to get vaccinated during this global pandemic. Hardesty loves going to church and simply enjoying life. She said in her earlier days she used to cut a mean rug!
Shirley Pettus – Shirley Pettus is one of DCHA’s longest standing resident council presidents having served as resident council president for over 25 years at Regency House. Her love and dedication for the residents is shown through delivering food once a week, establishing partnerships to improve the quality of life of each resident, taking residents on trips that they otherwise would not go on if she did not provide the opportunity, and so much more. Since the health emergency due to COVID-19, some of these activities have been put on hold; however, Pettus made sure the residents continued to
receive food and were educated about COVID-19. She is also intentional about reaching out to the residents who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation.
Andrenia “Dena” Walker – Andrenia Walker has been the president of Greenleaf Gardens Extension and Additions resident council for nine and a half years. This position affords her the opportunity to create, plan, and implement programs and activities that are beneficial to the overall benefit of the residents. She loves being able to lift the spirits of residents who are experiencing emotional and mental trauma and refer them to resources that help them either overcome the issues or decrease the stressors. To help herself cope through the COVID-19 pandemic, she strictly adheres to COVID-19 guidelines (i.e. wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing etc.). When it comes to the residents, she distributes personal protection equipment and has created a private resident chat group to share thoughts, information, and tangible resources.
Commissioner Aquarius Vann-Ghasri – Commissioner Aquarius Vann-Ghasri has served as the Potomac Gardens Family Resident Council president for approximately nine years. What she loves most about the position is she has an opportunity to implement her degree in Urban Studies Social Planning with an emphasis on Urban Policies Analysis. To help her residents through the pandemic, Vann-Ghasri is constantly informing residents where they can get vaccinated, if they desire. She further advises residents to be consciously aware of the vaccine they are receiving. Vann-Ghasri loves learning from the youth on her properties. She believes even infants can teach her something new.
Anne Clark – Anne Clark is another one of DCHA’s long standing resident council presidents, having served at Sibley Plaza for more than 25 years. During these years, Clark has seen a lot of things change but what remains the same is her love and dedication to helping the residents. Since the pandemic, Clark has made sure residents have masks and are wearing them and that residents are adhering to all CDC guidelines, especially while inside the building. She also has kept residents informed about when the vaccination clinics will visit the property. Music and dancing are Clark’s favorite things to do and one of the things she misses is being able to gather in the community space tosing and dance with the residents.
Julia Tutt – Julia Tutt has served as resident council president at Highland Addition for over four years. Helping the youth, young adults, and their families is what she loves most about her position. Since the health emergency, Tutt was able to help residents get COVID-19 and HIV testing. She also provided fresh produce and essential cleaning supplies such as masks, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and bleach. She has served over 200 breakfast and lunch meals to the community. Tutt loves to serve. She loves to be a resource to those in need and most of all, she loves teaching youth at Highland Addition how to display being kings and queens in the community.
Patricia Malloy – Patricia Malloy has been the resident council president at Lincoln Heights for five years. Three of her favorite aspects of the position are working with people, learning from them, and being a voice for the residents who are afraid to speak up. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Malloy has made sure that families and seniors are informed about free services and supplies. She hosts senior and afterschool programs five days a week via Zoom. Malloy enjoys being able to help anyone in need. She also enjoys listening to and learning from the youth.
Rhonda Hamilton – Rhonda Hamilton has served two terms as resident council president of Syphax Gardens. What she loves most about the position is helping and serving the residents and connecting them to resources and services to help meet their needs. Since the pandemic, Hamilton has helped residents cope and stay safe by making wellness calls, working with service providers to make sure residents have food, and advocating for additional resources. She has also kept residents informed of programs and services available to assist them during this hard time. In her spare time, she
likes to do improvisation.
Alicia Ginyard – Alicia Ginyard has been The Villager Resident Council president for five years. Prior to COVID-19, she loved getting residents to engage with other communities by going on trips and hosting outdoor activities. To help residents and herself cope with COVID-19, she consulted with different doctors and purchased cleaning supplies. She
loves taking trips and enjoying life.
Christine Spencer – Christine Spencer has been the James Creek Resident Council president for nearly five years. This position has given her the opportunity to engage with neighbors and residents through activities and programs and to advocate on their behalf. James Creek opened a food pantry on the property to make sure residents have food, cleaning supplies, and PPE throughout the entire pandemic. When she is not operating in the role of president, she loves to spend some of her time watching fun videos on the social media platform, TikTok.
Denise Blackson – Denise Blackson has served as resident council president of Sibley Plaza Townhomes since 2010. As a president she goes over and beyond to assist residents, friends, and the neighbors of the surrounding community. Since the pandemic, Blackson has continuously gone door to door to pass out food and supplies to residents. She has gone to each resident to provide information regarding the virus and vaccines. Helping others is how Blackson copes with the pandemic because she truly believes in helping others.
Shonta High – Shonta High has served as the resident council president at Park Morton for four years. She loves this position because she is able to interact with the community and fight for quality and justice. This position gives her the chance to give residents hope to “see the light at the end of the tunnel.” She was recently dubbed Park Morton’s Harriett Tubman and compared to the puissant Fannie Lou Hammer. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, High has fed the community, provided masks, hand sanitizer, and many other supplies needed to help residents. In addition, she offered
free life coaching and prayer. She revels in music and will break out and dance whenever the music moves her.
Joyce Simmons – Joyce Simmons has been the president of Richardson Dwellings for eight years. She loves to secure food resources for the residents in need and cook for them when she has time. Simmons loves to listen to her residents’ challenges and concerns and use the information to advocate for them. Since the pandemic, she has worked hard to keep residents connected to important virtual meetings regarding plans for Richardson and other matters. She works closely with Citygate Ministries and Sasha Bruce, two onsite service providers that bring information and tangible resources to
the residents. Simmons has several hobbies including cooking and going to the casino. She loves good food and especially eating crabs.
Alice Veney – Alice Veney has served as the resident council president at Knox Hill for six years. As president, Veney is able to help residents secure food, health care assistance, and any other resources that will improve their lives. Veney has helped her residents stay safe during the health emergency by providing masks to all who need them. She has helped her residents manage their isolation by doing wellness calls and offering a listening ear. She says her residents keep her going and her clever sense of humor is what she offers them in return.
Belinda Belk – Belinda Belk has served as the resident council president to Greenleaf Senior residents for five years. As president, she is happy to do one of the things she enjoys the most: helping people. Belk has helped residents manage this past year by listening to their needs and ensuring that they have the resources needed to make it through this pandemic. She has been labeled as a dancing machine.
Doris Foreman – Doris Foreman is a resident at Fort Lincoln and has served as resident council president for seven years. What she loves most about the position is helping people. Since the pandemic, she has made sure the residents have plenty of food and are aware of opportunities to get vaccinated. In her spare time she enjoys going to casinos and taking
residents on trips to see plays.
Pauline Blocker – Pauline Blocker is the resident council president of Woodland Terrace and has been serving for nearly three years. She loves caring for the residents and making sure they have the food and supplies needed to make it through the pandemic. Giving out cleaning supplies and hosting COVID-19 and HIV testing is how she has helped residents manage
during the COVID-19 health emergency. Blocker enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and being the caretaker of her mother.
Tanora Gibbs – Tanora Gibbs is a resident of the Montana Terrace community and has served as the resident council president for close to nine years. This role has given Gibbs the opportunity to give back to the community through her time and providing resources. She has helped the residents cope and stay safe during the COVID-19 health emergency by encouraging them to practice social distancing and wear masks, distributing resource materials and food, as well as through wellness checks to residents. She is known as the snack queen. She always has delicious snacks.
Dannielle Hamilton – Dannielle Hamilton serves as the resident council president of Benning Terrace and has been in the position for a little over six months. Prior to becoming president, she served as the vice president for seven years. Both positions have given her an opportunity to do what she loves, which is working with youth and their families. She is assisting the residents at Benning to manage this past year by partnering with organizations that provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. When Hamilton is not being a resource for her community, you may find her enjoying two of her favorite pastimes: singing and dancing.
Joyce Kinard – Joyce Kinard has spent two years as resident council president at Judiciary House and says she enjoys the position because she enjoys serving the residents. She has helped the residents through the health emergency by connecting them to resources and making sure they are aware of opportunities to get vaccinated at the property. Kinard is the happiest when she is spending time with her grandchildren and when she knows she has done everything to make sure the residents are happy.
Karen Settles – Karen Settles has dedicated herself, for more than 20 years, to the service and business of representing the Stoddert Terrace community through activism and advocating for matters that need voices from the community. She has been elected to lead and establish common ground and unity in the community. To ensure residents are supported during
the COVID-19 health emergency, Settles led most of the food distribution, informed the community about wearing masks, and directed members of the community to vaccine locations. She also stayed connected with the mental and physical healthcare providers who provide a lifeline to the residents. Settles loves God; she loves people and her community. She loves to use a quote from one of her friends that speaks to what she loves, “Love is being somewhere doing something for someone else.”
Claudia McCormack – Claudia McCormack has served Potomac Gardens Senior for two years as the resident council president. She loves that this position has allowed her to develop close relationships with the residents. She is able to provide assistance when they share their problems and concerns. Potomac Gardens Senior received a $2,000 micro grant from DCHA for personal protection equipment. She used the funds to give each resident a care package that included masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes, and paper towels. She says her relationship with the residents works both ways; she
takes care of them and they take care of her.