December 1, 2017 Published in Editorials

Welcome Mr. Pettigrew And Thank You Mr. Priest Editorial

This news organization has a strong record of in-depth reporting with regard to the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and we welcome Keith Pettigrew in his new role as the Chief Executive Officer of ARHA. He has already met with staff, the Residents Council and the Senior Residents Counsel and his goals include spending time at all ARHA properties and meeting more of the residents. Importantly, he also wants to meet with City officials to establish a closer working relationship. This will be critical as ARHA continues to redevelop and improve its properties in a manner that best suits the needs of ARHA and its residents, particularly in an era when federal funds for public housing are being cut.

The City has always understood that ARHA provides housing to some of Alexandria’s neediest residents but the path to modernizing the housing stock while maintaining financial viability has not always run smooth. Mr. Pettigrew has a strong background in public housing, including with the city of New Orleans, and that experience will be put to use as he tries to get the Andrew Adkins redevelopment back on track. ARHA is in the best financial situation that it has been in for many years and we trust that Mr. Pettigrew will keep it that way as he moves the agency forward. We wish him well.

We also wish his predecessor well and thank Mr. Priest for his role in getting ARHA on a firm financial footing with a long term financial plan in place. Just as meaningful, Mr. Priest turned the operative culture of ARHA around so that the needs and dignity of residents is respected. Mr. Priest presided over new scattered site housing development and mixed income redevelopments where residents of million dollar town homes live next to units occupied by public housing residents. His successes provide a model for how such authorities should be run and we urge Mr. Pettigrew to continue these practices as ARHA faces its new challenges.

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