The DCHA Rent Reporting Story & Film Release!
“When Joseph [the 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,” says Monique Drayton, former resident District of Columbia Housing Authority, at the start of Credit Builders Alliance’s new rent reporting film.
Ms. 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 DC City Council in 2020, DCHA is one of a handful of public housing authorities across the country offering residents 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, Mr. 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 Ms. 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,” Ms. Drayton reflects.
Among DCHA residents participating in rent reporting, 75 percent 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 one of a handful of public housing authorities 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.
But don’t take it from us, hear more from Ms. Drayton, Mr. Nelson, DCHA residents and staff, and even the City Councilmember who spearheaded the rent reporting bill by watching our short (five minute) video about their experiences with rent reporting!