DCHA Rent Reporting Story and Film Release

Monique Drayton, a former resident District of Columbia Housing Authority, opens Credit Builders Alliance’s new rent reporting film by saying, “When Joseph [DCHA’s Credit Building & Reporting Specialist] explained to us the benefits of reporting your rent to the credit bureaus, and how your score can go up, it was a no brainer.”

Drayton was one of nearly 50 residents who participated in the first year of DCHA’s rent reporting pilot program. A program authorized and funded by the D.C. Council in 2020, DCHA is one of a handful of public housing authorities across the country offering residents a chance to build credit through rent payments. CBA partnered with DCHA to provide technical assistance throughout their program implementation. Program implementation came with challenges, as DCHA launched the program in summer 2020, around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit Building & Reporting Specialist Joseph Nelson says, “it was difficult to get this program off the ground in a completely virtual environment, but by building trust with the property managers and residents, everyone saw the value that this program brings.”  

“You have to pay your rent anyway, so why not get credit for it?” DCHA resident and rent reporting advocate Leonard Ward says.  

In addition to raising awareness about the program, Nelson began bringing in experts to lead financial education workshops on numerous topics of interest to residents so they could leverage rent reporting to work towards other financial goals.  

The program has paid off, especially for Drayton, who became mortgage ready and was able to realize her dream of homeownership.

“Owning a home has made life more enjoyable. It has made me a softer person,” Drayton says.  

Among DCHA residents participating in rent reporting, 75% have seen an improvement in their credit score by an average of 29 points. Four residents were able to establish a credit score for the first time. DCHA plans to continue growing its rent reporting program in the coming years and frequently serves as a mentor to other housing providers seeking to replicate their efforts.  

DCHA is making a difference in residents’ lives through rent reporting. Others across the country are seeing promise and stepping up to bring the opportunity to more renters. Kaiser Permanente sponsored the film and is partnering with CBA to incentivize and support more housing providers to follow DCHA’s lead.

DCHA residents interested in joining the Rent Reporting & Credit Building Program can contact Joseph Nelson at jnelson@dchousing.org or (202) 779-7209.

Credit Builder Alliance provided the above content.

Last Modified: 02/14/2022 10:09 pm