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Affordable housing industry targets public housing for termination with RAD program
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Saturday Jun 14th, 2014 10:27 PM
After starving our nation's public housing program for many years with a lack of adequate funding, Congress has allowed 60,000 public housing units to be privatized and sold under the new RAD program recently. However, applications seeking commitments to privatize 180,000 public housing units have been offered by members of the so-called affordable housing industry from all across the nation!
Affordable housing industry targets public housing for termination with RAD program

By Lynda Carson - June 14, 2014

A plethora of poverty pimps from the so-called nonprofit affordable housing industry are targeting our nation's 1.5 million public housing units for takeover and exploitation through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, and they are moving quickly to grab as many public housing units as is possible.

Known as the "affordable housing mafia" by poor people who find that they cannot afford to reside in so-called affordable housing projects, most so-called nonprofit housing developers have minimum income requirements that discriminate against the poor.

After starving our nation's public housing program for many years with a lack of adequate funding, Congress has allowed 60,000 public housing units to be privatized and sold under the new RAD program recently. However, applications seeking commitments to privatize 180,000 public housing units have been offered by members of the so-called affordable housing industry from all across the nation.

The poverty pimps have done their best to lobby and oil the wheels of Congress with their campaign contributions to allow them to grab more public housing units than is currently allowed, and recently Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) offered an amendment to lift the RAD cap to 250,000 units, and extend the program for an additional year. The amendment was shot down when the FY15 HUD funding bill was passed by the House Appropriations Committee on May 21, 2014.

Major so-called affordable housing developers including Bridge Housing, Related Companies, The Community Builders Inc., Mercy Housing California, the John Stewart Company and others are all jumping on the band wagon to take advantage of the funding shortfalls that have plagued our public housing communities through the years, and they are grabbing as many public housing units that they can get their greedy hands on.

In San Francisco, the scheme to privatize 3,491 public housing units through the RAD program is currently underway involving a number of so-called nonprofit housing developers including the Tabernacle Community Development Corporation, 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, Chinatown Community Development Center, and the for profit housing developer Related California, owned by out-of-state billionaire's Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross.

In a recent article by Multi Housing News, Cynthia Parker, CEO, of Bridge Housing is all pumped up and excited because Bridge Housing was recently awarded 700 public housing units in San Francisco to rehabilitate, manage, and exploit through the RAD program. Parker said, "The Rental Assistance Program is a HUD program, where a housing authority applies to convert their public housing into a more privatized model. In that model, there is more of a Section 8 rental assistance contract that goes with it, which helps support debts, along with other subsidy sources. In this case we'll be receiving those from the City of San Francisco. There are also tax credits. You move the public housing into a RAD program with newly recapitalized buildings."

Like many other poverty pimps all across the nation among the affordable housing industry, Bridge Housing believes that it can make a hefty profit by grabbing as many of San Francisco's public housing units from the poor as is possible, for maximum exploitation. The public housing takeover will help to increase the salaries and compensation of the already overpaid top executives in the organization. Having developed more than 14,000 rental units/homes since 1983 that are worth an estimated value of more than $3 billion, Bridge Housing aims to double it's portfolio by 2017, according to Parker.

The latest annual salaries and compensation figures from Bridge Housing for their top executives from 01/01/2012 and ending 12/31/2012: Cynthia Parker - $491,797. Rebecca Hlebasko - $303,122. Susan Johnson - $287,592. D Valentine - $286,960. Kimberly A. McKay - $282,727. Tom Early - $263,437. Brad Wilbin - $241,524. Phillip Williams - $199,571. Corinne Morrison - $193,734. Tom Casey - $188,991. James Valva - $185,685. Jeff Williams - $173,369. Mari Hikida - $172,732. Rebecca Clarke - $152,219.

The RAD model that Parker praises that privatizes our public housing, places our public housing units at risk of foreclosure, increases the loss of public housing units for the poor, displaces the poor from their housing, and creates significant rent increases per unit to pay off the costs of rehabilitation, loans, and debt. Additionally, the RAD program in San Francisco threatens 200 public housing employees with the loss of their jobs.

Corruption in the launching of the RAD program

Patrick Costigan who was on loan to HUD from a so-called nonprofit housing organization called "The Community Builders Inc." (TCB), was on leave since January 2011 through part of 2014 from TCB. While he was with HUD as a senior advisor to Secretary Shaun Donovan, Costigan led the launch of the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD) for HUD, that threatens to displace tens of thousands of public housing residents all across the nation from their housing. Costigan is presently back with TCB after three years with HUD. TCB is a major developer of so-called mixed income housing projects and Costigan has recently been named the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the company, after his three year stint with HUD. TCB owns or manages 10,000 apartments in 14 states, including Washington, D.C., according to reports. TCB has also been involved in numerous Hope VI Projects that have displaced many poor families from their long-time public housing communities.

According to TCB: "TCB's property management portfolio consists of 103 properties ranging in size from 6 units to communities of over 600 units. It includes properties with subsidy sources and funding via HOPE VI, Section 8, Section 236, LIHTC, Section 202/811, Section 221(d)(3) programs and provides almost 8,000 households with attractive, safe, and affordable rental housing."

Costigan was on loan to HUD as a senior advisor to HUD Secretary Donovan through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement that allowed HUD to enter an agreement with Costigan's employer TCB, and cost-sharing arrangements for the IPA were negotiated between the participating organizations.

In his role as a senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Costigan was the man who led the launch of the RAD program for HUD that may result in the further enrichment of TCB, it's top executive salaries, and their housing portfolio in 14 states, including Washington D.C.

Additionally, documentation in a May 30, 2014 Memorandum from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) claims that HUD "incorrectly" used funding to pay the salary and benefits to the former senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

According to the May 30, 2014 "OIG" Memorandum, HUD reimbursed TCB for the senior advisor's services to the HUD Secretary from the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) including the Office of Housing, to pay $622,369 in salary and benefits. However, due to a federal 2011 spending law, for the sake of transparency Congress directed HUD to pay all senior and special advisors to the HUD Secretary from the Office of the Secretary's budget. Additionally, $2,365 in funds was overpaid by HUD, according to the memo.

The OIG memo claims that HUD "may" have violated the Antideficiency Act (ADA) by paying TCB from the wrong coffers. In the memo it states, "according to a July 26, 2010 House of Representatives report, ''...all senior advisors to the Secretary should be funded directly through the Office of the Secretary. In addition, a HUD appropriations attorney wrote in a January 13, 2011, email that a special advisor to the Office of the Secretary would need to be paid by that office and not another office within HUD."

HUD failed to follow the direction given to it in the House report including the guidance provided by it's own appropriations attorney, and instead had reimbursed TCB for the senior advisor's services from the wrong coffers, namely PIH and the Office of Housing funds. As a direct result, HUD "may" have violated the Antideficiency Act (ADA).

Records also show that HUD payed TCB around $205,000 a year whle Costigan was on loan to HUD as a senior advisor to HUD Secretary Donovan for 3 years. However, the latest tax 990 filing records filed by TCB reveal that Costigan was actually paid $177,500 by TCB, including other compensation of $23,182.

The latest annual salaries and compensation figures from The Community Builders (TCB) top executives beginning 10/01/2011 and ending 09/30/2012: Patrick E. Clancy - $334,616 plus $$26,563. Bartholomew J Mitchell III - $310,000 plus $7,031. Mick Vergura $241,200 plus $29,637. Beverly J Bates - $241,900 plus $9,100. Willie M Jones - $241,900 plus $15,959. Karen Kelleher - $212,700 plus $21,524. Daniel Lorraine - $207,700 plus $18,046. Homayoun Sarabi - $196,266 plus $11,433. Robert Fossi - $189,127 plus $14,451. Jan Brodie - $187,626 plus $21,552. Terri Hamilton Brown - $179,220. James F Rushford - $121,968 plus $2,158.

Records also reveal that The Community Builders Inc., made $60,0000 in political contributions in 1998, $80,000 in contributions during 1999, $40,000 in contributions in 2001, and $140,000 in 2002.

Additional records reveal that in 2008 Patrick M. Costigan made a political contribution of $1,950, including $850 during the presidential election, plus $3,500 during 2012, including $500 to Dnc Services Corporation.

It was reported on June 11, 2014 that 60 public housing residents and union workers in the City of Baltimore held a protest against the plan to privatize and sell thousands of Baltimore's public housing units to some private housing developers. According to reports, the protesters are afraid that the plan would lead to displaced residents, lost jobs, and less available public housing for the poor. The city plans to privatize more than 4,000 public housing units out of 11,000 public housing units.

According to reports protesters yelled, "Housing is a human right," and held signs reading "Rethink RAD." Sharon Jones, president of the tenant's council at Bel-Park Tower, said the plan is "their way of bullying us out of housing." The protesters are very concerned that developers would one day raise the rents, pricing them out of their housing.

In an article recently published with the San Franciso Bay View, it reported on a number of public housing residents that are concerned about the RAD program who appeared at a May 28 meeting at the Bayview Library. Additionally, members of Poor Magazine have been holding their own truth and informational meetings across San Francisco to inform public housing residents that RAD is the latest removal program of poor people from their neighborhoods.

Meanwhile the promoters of the RAD program including Patrick M. Cositgan of TCB who was a senior advisor to HUD Secretary Donovan, Ben Metcalf a senior advisor to the Acting Assistant Secretary for Housing/FHA Commissioner for Multi Family Housing for HUD, and Kathleen Foster who is a RAD contractor for the Federal Practice Group, have held webinars to promote the privatization and selling of our nation's 1.5 million public housing units owned by 3,100 Public Housing Authorities across the nation.

In his push to destroy our nation's public housing program, Patrick M. Costigan has been trying to convince Congress and HUD officials that privatized mixed income housing developments are an antidote to urban poverty, and Costigan believes that poor people should not live together in public housing projects.

In a 10 page comment (rant) by Costigan in regards to whether or not mixed income housing is an antidote to poverty, Costigan writes; "Researchers know and much of the public knows that a large concentration of public and assisted housing in any urban neighborhood does not lead to good outcomes for families, the surrounding neighborhood, or even large parts of cities. It is no surprise then that community after community in cities and suburbs alike - and a large number of advocates for the poor continue to oppose the development of projects that offer only low-income housing."

Despite the ridiculous comments made by Patrick Costigan, I have not yet heard any poor people complain about the federal government building low-income housing for the poor. In fact, I often hear from poor people who complain that the federal government does not build enough low-income housing for the poor, elderly and disabled.

The mantra currently being used by Patrick Costigan and countless other poverty pimps all across the nation is that poor people should not be living together. This is their excuse to push for the privatization of our 1.5 million public housing units, so that the poverty pimps can grab our nation's public housing units from the poor, while raking in tens of billions of dollars in profits, in the process.

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

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The trail of Corruption in the RAD program?Lynda CarsonSunday Jun 15th, 2014 8:53 PM