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SF public housing privatization threatens tenants and union workers
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Thursday Apr 10th, 2014 4:44 AM
As recent as January 31, 2014, the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) invited developers and nonprofit organizations to become partners in the scheme to privatize and rehabilitate 3,491 occupied public housing units grouped into eight clusters throughout San Francisco, as part of the RAD privatization project, over a three year period.
SF public housing privatization threatens tenants and union workers

By Lynda Carson - April 10, 2014

San Francisco - The plan to privatize and sell our public housing projects in San Francisco and across the nation is harmful to the poor, elderly and disabled, including the thousands of union workers that have spent years maintaining our public housing units. Thousands of union workers are presently facing job losses due to public housing privatization schemes.

On Thursday April 10, under a federal program called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a scheme to privatize and sell many of San Francisco's public housing units is moving forward. The Commissioners of the San Francisco Housing Authority are expected to approve the selection of Related California (owned by out-of-state billionaires Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross), and the Tabernacle Community Development Corporation as the development team for privatizing and redeveloping 203 public housing units at the Robert B. Pitts site, and 136 public housing units at Western Courts. The more than 300 low-income families face displacement from their longtime public housing units as a direct result of the privatization scheme.

As recent as January 31, 2014, the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) invited developers and nonprofit organizations to become partners in the scheme to privatize and rehabilitate 3,491 occupied public housing units grouped into eight clusters throughout San Francisco, as part of the RAD privatization project, over a three year period.

Presently, the parties being selected to be involved in the scheme to grab the public housing units from San Francisco's poor include Related California, Mission Economic Development Agency, Bridge Housing, Mercy Housing California, John Stewart Company, Japanese American Religious Federation, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Community Housing Partnership, Bethel A.M.E., San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, Ridgepoint Non-Profit Corporation, Community Housing Partnership, Glide Community Housing, Bernal Heights Housing Corporation, Bridge Housing Corporation, and the Chinatown Community Development Center.

The above mentioned developers are all presently seeking an exclusive negotiating rights agreement (ENRA) that would allow them to takeover and exploit 3,491 of San Francisco's public housing units.

Public Housing Tenants and Union Workers Threatened By RAD Program

Not only are public housing tenants at risk of being displaced from their housing, union workers are also at risk of losing their jobs once RAD is implemented.

On September 24, 2013, public housing activist and tenant Lisa-Gray Garcia (Tiny) of Poor Magazine joined other community activists on the steps of City Hall in San Francisco to protest against the implementation of the RAD program, and the privatization of our public housing.

According to the minutes of a January 15, 2014, SFHA Commissioner's meeting, Jet Chapman an SEIU 1021 representative expressed concerns about RAD and asked the Commission to vote against the item. Renita Mason, SEIU 1021 chapter member expressed concerns about not knowing the impact of RAD. Marvin Harrell expressed concerns about the impact of the RAD program on the morale of the employees. Bill Blackwell representative of Local 38 expressed concerns with the communication to the unions regarding the RAD program. Cherice Jackson expressed concerns about the effect of the Rad program. Ace Washington expressed concerns about the RAD program and the communication with staff and tenants. Frank Po expressed concerns for the RAD program and stated that he would speak to the tenants to come and support the authority staff. David Canham, SEIU 1021 representative expressed concerns about the communication between the agency and the unions. Rosa Asana, PHTA Board member and President of Westside Court asked how the authority could ensure nondiscrimination of tenants if they moved to the RAD program. Alasabeth Alexander, vice president of politics for SEIU stated that they are talking about eliminating 200 middle class jobs if RAD is implemented.

Presently 200 union workers or less, mostly maintenance workers are also threatened with losing their jobs at the Baltimore Housing Authority once the RAD program is implemented there. More than 4,000 out of 11,000 public housing units are scheduled to become privatized under the RAD program in Baltimore.

Congress Allows 60,000 Public Housing Units To Be Privatized Under RAD

Congress authorized the conversion of 60,000 public housing units to be privatized and sold under the RAD program by September 30, 2015, and HUD’s FY14 budget request seeks to expand the demonstration program to 150,000 units. Some of the organizations supporting the RAD program include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Enterprise Community Partners, the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the National Leased Housing Association,  the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future.

Berkeley's 75 Public Housing Units Recently Sold To Some Billionaires

A March 13, 2014, memorandum from the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) announced that the disposition project to privatize and dispose of Berkeley's 75 public housing town homes closed as recent as Friday, February 14, 2014. According to the BHA, a February 11, 2014, notice was sent out to all current public housing residents advising them of the transfer of ownership of their public housing units to the Related Company.


However, the deal to privatize Berkeley's 75 public housing town homes just became a whole lot more complicated as of March 17, 2014, when Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Related Companies, Inc., (owned by billionaires Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross), for being engaged in a pattern and practice of developing rental apartments that are inaccessible to persons with disabilities in New York City, and elsewhere.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “We will not allow developers and architects who deprive people with disabilities of accessible housing to evade the consequences of their failure to comply with clear, long-standing federal civil rights laws. When developers demonstrate an unwillingness to design and construct accessible housing in accordance with federal law, this Office will not hesitate to use its enforcement tools to compel the developers to make both their preexisting and future constructions accessible.”

"To ensure that RELATED’s current and future residential housing developments are accessible to people with disabilities and to redress its history of non-compliance with the Fair Housing Act, the United States seeks a court order enjoining RELATED from designing and constructing multi-family housing, such as 15 Hudson Yards, without the accessibility features required by federal law and requiring RELATED to retrofit the inaccessible conditions at all the rental properties it has developed to make them accessible. The United States also seeks damages for persons harmed by RELATED’s unlawful practices, and a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest."

Another strange twist to this story occurred on March 19, 2014, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is giving $112,344 to the BHA for maintenance of it's public housing units, even though the BHA sold and transferred ownership of all of it's public housing units to billionaires Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross, of the Related Companies, on February 14, 2014.


Now that the BHA has sold all of it's public housing units, one can only wonder what the $112,344 is really going to be used for.

Currently the billionaires of Related are trying to get their hands on some of San Francisco's public housing units including the Robert B. Pitts, 203 public housing units, Westside Courts, 136 public housing units, Hunter's Point East, 80 public housing units, and Hunter's Point West, 133 public housing units.

For a reservation list of public housing units across the nation to be privatized, click on the link below...

http://tinyurl.com/oeff5vk

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


§Message from Sara Short about the privatization of SF public housing
by Lynda Carson Thursday Apr 10th, 2014 6:55 PM
Message from Sara Short about the privatization of SF public housing

I received the following message below from Sara Shortt, Executive Director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

It is not my pleasure to say this, however, it is my belief that Sara Shortt sold out and is presently receiving big bucks to convince the public housing tenants that everything is going to be just fine, and that they have nothing to worry about. Sara Shortt has become part of the problem, not a part of the solution.

Apparently, she feels that she needs to keep me in line also. I refuse to be quiet.

In brief, Sara Shortt is helping to pave the way for the displacement of poor people from San Francisco's public housing units for the poverty pimps that want to get their dirty hands on around 3,500 units, and Sara has become part of the system to enrich the poverty pimps, including herself.

The San Francisco Housing Authority is required by federal law to hire someone to share information about the privatization process taking place with the tenants at San Francisco's public housing units, before the tenants are allowed to be displaced by the privatization deal going down.

In this case, that someone who accepted payment to become part of the process to assist in the displacement of the public housing tenants from their long-time housing, turned out to be Sara Shortt, Executive Director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

There is also one other organization involved in the process to educate the tenants about what is happening also, to help the housing authority meet the requirement under federal law.

I observed the same tactics being used in Berkeley before the public housing units were bought by some out of state billionaires. As part of the process, they brought in some so-called tenant's rights activists and payed them to have some meetings, and to teach the tenants about their so-called rights, before the tenants were screwed and displaced from their housing.

A list of names were taken down of all the tenants that appeared at each of the meetings, and the lists were then forwarded to HUD to prove that the housing authority was in compliance with federal law, before they could pressure the tenants out of their housing. I have a copy of the lists that were sent to HUD, that include the names, addresses, and phones numbers of all the tenants, lawyers, relocation consultants, housing authority officials, and other consultants that appeared at the meetings. The housing authority payed some consultants around $100,000 just to help in the process of privatizing their public housing units.

It's become big business to privatize our public housing units all across the country, as a way to enrich the so-called affordable housing industry.

I am not trying to frighten anyone with my story. However, I am not getting payed to tell the public housing tenants that they have nothing to worry about, nor would I ever accept payment to assist the poverty pimps in getting their hands on San Francisco's public housing units.

As much as Sara Shortt wants to take a pot shot at me, she is the one with unclean hands, and dirty money.

Sincerely,

Lynda Carson

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From: Sara Shortt -- sara [at] hrcsf.org

Today at 3:48 PM

Hi Linda-

I just wanted to point out that the federal regulations for RAD state that "no permanent displacement shall occur as a result of conversion". Additionally, we have a public housing right to return act in SF that we helped pass. So i think claiming that tenants are at risk of displacement is not only inaccurate, but also fuels fears among residents who are scared enough of losing their housing to begin with. Sara

--
Sara Shortt
Executive Director
Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
417 South Van Ness, SF, CA 94103
Phone: 415-703-8634, Ext. 106
Fax: 415-703-8639
http://www.hrcsf.org