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Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Sunday Jun 9th, 2013 9:16 PM
The Berkeley Housing Authority recently took back vouchers from 14 Section 8 voucher holders because of the massive budget cuts taking place known as sequestration! The agency also gave notice to approximately 200 additional households in the final stages of being eligible to receive Section 8 vouchers, that their application for the vouchers have been suspended until further notice!
Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts

By Lynda Carson - June 9, 2013

Berkeley - It's hard times for Berkeley's poor in the Section 8 voucher program (Housing Choice Voucher Program), and it's been very difficult for the low-income households that have recently moved out of town due to being pressured out of their public housing units. Public housing units that are being sold to some out of state billionaires (Stephen M. Ross and Jorge M. Perez).

Because of recent federal budget cuts (sequestration) affecting our nation's housing assistance programs for the poor, the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) recently informed 14 households that their Section 8 vouchers have been suspended until further notice. The households received the vouchers from the BHA on April 12, 2013, and have recently been notified that the BHA will not honor a "Request for Tenancy Approval" for the housing of their choice.

The BHA has also given notice to approximately 200 additional households in the final stages of being eligible to receive Section 8 vouchers, that their application for the vouchers have been suspended until further notice.

Households in the Section 8 program pay 30% to 40% of their income in rent every month, and the rest of the rent is payed to the landlord by the program.

On March 1, 2013, around $85 billion in federal budget cuts took effect known as sequestration that are part of a 10 year plan of catastrophic funding reductions to our nation's discretionary domestic programs including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the pentagon/military budgets.

The impact of sequestration on the BHA has resulted in the loss of more than $1.7 million in annual funding for rental subsidy payments. The BHA has lost an additional $386,000 in administrative fees to operate it's programs including the Section 8 Voucher Program, Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program, and the Public Housing Program.

The BHA's public housing program still has 39 occupied public housing units (RHCP/LIPH) while the BHA is still in the transition process of selling it's 75 public housing units to some out of state billionaires that own the Related Companies of California, LLC.

In total. As a direct result of the on-going sequestration budget cuts, it means that the BHA is no longer able to continue utilizing all 1,866 vouchers allocated by HUD to assist eligible families at the current benefit level. Vouchers have been taken back from 14 households in the Section 8 voucher program in Berkeley. Additionally, vouchers for 200 other households are no longer currently available, and the BHA has suspended indefinitely, all plans to award any more Section 8 Project-Based Vouchers in the future.

It's very difficult times for the poor in Berkeley, and for some of the households that were pressured out of their public housing units and given a Section 8 voucher to help relocate elsewhere, 3 households moved into the jurisdiction of the Contra Costa County Housing Authority. An additional 3 households moved into the jurisdiction of the Richmond Housing Authority, with 2 other households moving into the jurisdiction of the Alameda County Housing Authority, and 2 other households moved into the jurisdiction of the Oakland Housing Authority.

Indeed, in a report released on May 22, from a survey conducted by the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association involving 300 housing agencies from 41 states, the situation looks very grim for the poor. At least 51 agencies reported that they will terminate vouchers during the next 6 months, and an additional 75 agencies have reported that the budget cuts known as sequestration will result in higher rents for voucher holders throughout their jurisdictions.

In addition to all the budget cuts affecting the poor in the nation's federal housing programs, high salaries and wage compensation being given to some of the overpaid top executives in our local nonprofit, 501 c3 charity housing organizations, result in less funding being available for the poor in privatized tax payer subsidized housing projects.

Recently a Section 8 tenant in a privatized tax payer subsidized housing project in Oakland, reported that her rent was increased by around $100 dollars after the May 1, sequestration budget cuts went into effect. Wanting to remain anonymous because the building manager from the non profit housing organization told her not to tell anyone of her rent increase, she is very worried that the rent increase will have to come out of her pocket. She is so poor, that she receives food stamps to survive on, and it concerned her that the rent increase may be used to subsidize the wages of some overpaid executives running the subsidized housing project she resides in.

See the latest in salaries and wage compensation for some of the top executives in some local nonprofit housing organizations, according to some of the latest 990 tax forms filed with the federal government.

EAH Inc.; In 2012, more than 11 executives at EAH Inc., earned well over $100,000 per year, including 2 people raking in well over $200,000 a year. Leading the pack, Mary Murtagh, President, was paid $298,850 in 2012. Laura Hall, Chief Operating Officer, was paid $208,286. Cathy Macy, CFO, was paid $186,709. Stephen Lucas, VP Acquisitions, was paid $182,991. Dianna Ingle, VP Re MGMT, was paid $163,324.

Affordable Housing Associates; In 2012, Susan Friedland, Executive Director, was paid $152,966.

Bridge Housing; In 2011, the top executive at Bridge Housing took in well over $300,000 that year, with 6 other top executives pulling in well over $200,000 annually, including an additional 6 other top executives raking in well over $155,000 that year. Leading the pack, Cynthia Parker took in $330,249 in compensation during 2011. Rebecca Hiebasko was paid $278,224. Kimberly A McKay was paid $255,665. Susan Johnson was paid $235,875. D Valentine was paid $235.840. Lydia Tan's compensation was listed at $224,474 for 2011 (Severance pay on 1/3/2011, of $118,244, and distribution of an additional $106,230). Brad Wiblin was paid $200,887. Ann Silverberg was paid $196,499.

Christian Church Homes: In 2011, Don Stump, President/CEO, was compensated $181,874. Cynthia Lappin, VP Operations & COO, was paid $157,295. Winthrop Marshall, VP Finance & CFO, was paid $151,687. Leilani Siegfried, VP Human Services, was paid $138,810. Geoffrey Morgan, VP Development, was paid $130,948. Sheryl Stella, Controller, was paid $123,832.

Eden Housing; In 2011, Linda Mandolini, Executive Director, was paid $188,834. Jan Peters, Chief Operating Officer, was paid $187,538. Terese Mcnamee, CFO, was paid $175,804.

Satellite Housing; In 2011, Ryan Chao, Executive Director, Satellite Housing was paid $175,321. Dori Kojima, was paid $105,179. Miriam Benavides was paid $100,093.

Allied Housing; During 2012, Louis D. Chicoine, Executive Director, was paid $156,626.

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation; During 2011, Jeremy Liu, Executive Director, was paid $125,217. Peter Sopka, CFO, was paid $125,101. Mary Hennessy, COO, was paid $110,126. Carlos Castallenos, Director of Real Estate Development, was paid $103,329. Records also show that in 2009, former Executive Director of EBALDC, Lynette Jung Lee, earned as much $140,536 that year, including an additional $5,942 in other compensation. Joshua Simon is the current Executive Director, of EBALDC.

Resources for Community Development; In 2011, Dan Sawislak, Executive Director, received a total compensation of $127,330.

Lynda Carson may be reached at; tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com