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Oakland plans to abandon the poor in public housing
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Sunday Sep 14th, 2008 8:06 PM
Oakland plans to dispose of 1,554 families from public housing, with 3,885 people including children. City officials and nonprofit housing organizations are sitting back in silence as this impending disaster unfolds!


Oakland plans to abandon the poor in public housing

Oakland may give up $10,717,140 per year in federal public housing funds

by Lynda Carson September 14, 2008

Oakland -- If the board members of the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) have it their way, Oakland may end up losing $10,717,140 per year in federal funding for 1,615 public housing units, which may result in the displacement of 1,554 low-income families from Oakland's public housing. This includes a total of 3,885 family members including children, the aged, disabled and infirm.

With a disastrous housing crisis in full bloom, home foreclosures at an all time high, while the market is saturated with tons of unwanted residential buildings due to a housing market that is as unstable as it has ever been, on September 22 the board members of the Oakland Housing Authority plan to vote on a scheme to dispose of 254 housing sites in Oakland, including 332 buildings mostly filled with very low-income African American public housing tenants.

This may cost an additional $1,036,000 or more in relocation costs to cover expenses for around a third of the public housing families being affected, if the majority of seven OHA board members vote yes on September 22, to apply to Housing Urban Development (HUD) for approval of the plan to dispose of 1,615 public housing units.

The OHA wants to abandon the poor to focus mainly on renting to higher income tenants, and if HUD grants it the authority to dispose of the 1,615 low-income public housing units, the OHA plans to transfer control of 249 properties to an unnamed affiliate, and sell the buildings for a nominal sum or for as low as $1 (one dollar) per building to the unnamed affiliate.

In 1991, the OHA created Oakland Housing Initiatives Inc. (OHI), a 501c3 nonprofit organization located at 5321 Telegraph in Oakland. The OHA set the 501c3 nonprofit housing organization up as an affiliate of the OHA. According to the OHA, OHI was founded as an affiliate of the Oakland Housing Authority for the purpose of developing affordable housing in Oakland.

According to documents filed with the IRS, OHI was formed to carry out housing development strategies at arms length from the Oakland Housing Authority. Documents have Ted Dang listed as OHI's chairperson as of 9/12/07. Ted Dang used to be a board member of the OHA, and is currently a board member of the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, a partner of the OHA at Lion Creek Crossings mixed income housing development, along with billionaire Mark Stephens of the Related Companies, another partner of the same project that displaced 178 low-income public housing families from what used to be known as the Coliseum Gardens public housing complex.

Also operating out of the same address of 5321 Telegraph Ave., along with OHA's affiliate OHI, is Keller Housing Initiatives (KHI) another 501c3 nonprofit housing organization with a total of $9 million in assets, including a fund balance of $7.6 million left over after subtracting their liabilities from their assets. During 2007, KHI payed out over $242,000 in salaries and wages, while collecting over $140,000 in management fees for a project that provides 201 units of affordable housing for low-income persons displaced from urban renewal areas, or as a result of governmental action, according to documents.

With much speculation occurring as to which affiliate the OHA plans to transfer control of 249 properties too for a dollar per building, OHI or KHI may be the prime suspects to be picked by housing authority officials at some later date as the recipients of the disposition properties for one dollar per building.

Despite records showing that Oakland Housing Initiatives Inc. (OHI), is operating out of 5321 Telegraph, an IRS 990 tax record signed on 9/12/07 lists 1619 Harrison St., in Oakland as the property address for OHI. This is also the same address for the Oakland Housing Authority, and the same IRS documents also list an OHA phone number as a contact number to reach someone at OHI. If this is the final word on how the OHA allegedly plans to carry out housing development strategies at arms length from the Oakland Housing Authority, it is fraught with deception.

In a letter from Just Cause Oakland to the Oakland Housing Authority dated August 28, Kim Ota writes, "The concerns of residents of public housing have led us to oppose the disposition plan." In addition Ms Ota writes, "OHA staff provides vague ideas for properties and tenants, including redevelopment or sale of properties at the same time people are promised they can stay or go as they like. The affiliate who will buy the property for $1 each is unknown, and the rules regarding management and eligibility for future tenants have not been set."

The OHA is already trying to convince the poor to trade in their public housing units for the yet unobtained Section 8 vouchers, as part of the scheme to transfer 1,554 public housing units to an unnamed affiliate of the OHA. The OHA also claims that the tenants can use their Section 8 vouchers (if obtained) while remaining where their currently at, or that the families can move any where they want to with their Section 8 vouchers, if that may be the case. Presently, it is very difficult to move to many locations across the nation or locally with Section 8 vouchers, because other housing authorities refuse to accept transfers of Section 8 tenants.

In a nutshell, the OHA wants to convince HUD to release enough Section 8 tenant protection vouchers or replacement vouchers to cover the disposition of Oakland's poor from public housing, if the scheme to dispose of the 1,615 public housing units is acceptable to HUD. Meanwhile, during recent past years the Bush Administration and HUD officials have repeatedly tried to cut the HUD budget for Section 8 tenant protection vouchers and other housing assistance programs. In addition, theres currently around a $2 billion HUD funding shortfall for Section 8 project-based units occurring, and the battle between the house and senate and the Bush Administration over the funding levels for the Section 8 programs, makes the Section 8 voucher program very tenuous indeed.

HUD's budget was more than $83 billion during FY 1978, and for 2008 the presidents proposed HUD budget was only $35.2 billion.

It would be a huge loss to the citizens and voters of Oakland and an insult to the integrity of public housing advocates, to see their precious public housing properties handed over to the friends, and partners of OHA officials in the so-called world of corrupt affordable housing developers, for a dollar a property.

During early 2008, housing authorities across the state of California included proposals in their Annual PHA Plans to demolish or dispose of more than 14,000 public housing units, and theres no place left for the poor, elderly and disabled to go.

Theres no comparison to public housing and so-called affordable housing run by the so-called nonprofit housing sector. So called nonprofit housing developers such as Affordable Housing Associates in Berkeley demand that a poor person must have a minimum income of $8,400 annually to reside in one of their housing units, or at least $9,600 annually for 2 people to live together, whereas public housing tenants pay as little as 30% of their income, even if that means paying 30% of no income at all. Most public housing tenants who may be elderly, disabled or infirm may still remain in their public housing communities, even if they have no income at all.

Public housing is home to over 3 million seniors, the disabled and low-income families including over a million children, and more than half of all public housing residents are elderly or people with disabilities.

The Oakland Housing Authority wants to abandon the poor, in an attempt to serve people earning as much as 60% of AMI, in privatized mixed income housing developments, where public housing units once stood in Oakland.

In Oakland, if the disposition plan goes through, 80% of the families being disposed of from public housing earn less than 30% of AMI, while the average public housing tenants in Oakland actually earn less than 19% of AMI. With the whims of the housing market so unstable, many of these very low-income families may become homeless if they trade in their public housing for Section 8 vouchers.

In Oakland during the past year, city officials schemed with Oakland Community Housing Inc., a nonprofit housing developer to displace over 5oo very low-income renters from their housing, and both entities were sued in the process for violating the rights of the tenants.

East Bay Habitat for Humanity is currently involved in a project displacing 87 low-income families from the Tassafaronga Village, public housing complex in Oakland, in partnership with the Oakland Housing Authority.

Other nonprofit housing organizations that have been involved in projects displacing the poor from their public housing units in Oakland and Alameda County, include Bridge Housing, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Eden Housing, and the East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO).

In Dayton, Ohio, the PHA plans to demolish 1,500 public housing units, while 400 public housing units are threatened in Toledo, including another 783 public housing units in Richmond, Virginia.

A 2006 Harvard study reveals how we are losing 200,000 low-income housing units per year across the nation, while only around 100,000 much more expensive housing units are being built as replacement.

Since it's inception, the federal Hope Vl program has demolished over 120,000 units of low-income public housing, with less than 45,000 replacement units being built of much more expensive privatized mixed income housing developments, that discriminate against the poor.

The government and agencies such as the Oakland Housing Authority have a major role in providing public housing to the poor, elderly and disabled, and the notion of disposing of Oakland's public housing properties for a $1 per building or property sounds preposterous at best, and totally corrupt at the worst.

On September 22, at 1619 Harrison St., downtown Oakland (around 6m or 7pm), the OHA board members will vote on whether they should apply to HUD for approval of the disposition plan, that would dispose of 1,554 families from public housing in Oakland. The regular OHA Commissioner meetings follow the closed sessions, which generally start at 6pm. People need to be there a few minutes earlier before the regular meeting to sign up as speakers, to speak out against the disposition plan.

For more information on the disposition plan and the OHA Commissioners meeting schedule for September 22, contact Kim Ota at Just Cause Oakland 510/763-5877 or kim [at] justcauseoakland.org

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

Comments  (Hide Comments)

Contact: Bronwyn Hogan, OHA senior communications manager
(510) 874-1563 or bhogan [at] oakha.org

Karl Lauff, development project manager
(510) 746-4121 klauff [at] cchnc.org

Oakland Housing Authority Non Profit Affiliate Awarded $8.6 Million
HUD Grant to Build Low-Income Senior Housing Complex

OHI, Inc. Receives One of Only Four Competitive Grants
Awarded in Northern and Central California

http://tinyurl.com/58fdl3

OAKLAND, Calif., Monday, November 26, 2007 – The Oakland Housing
Authority (OHA) announced today that its non profit housing affiliate, Oakland Housing
Initiatives (OHI), Inc. and its joint venture partner, Christian Church Homes of Northern
California (CCHNC), were awarded an $8.6 million Section 202 Capital Advance Grant
from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to build a lowincome
senior rental housing complex on the corner of Harrison and 17th Streets in
Oakland, CA, on land owned by the OHA.

HUD's Section 202 grant program helps expand the supply of affordable housing
with supportive services for the elderly. It provides very low-income elderly with options
that allow them to live independently in an environment that provides support activities.
“We are pleased that Oakland Housing Initiatives and Christian Church Homes of
Northern California have been chosen for this grant,” said OHI Chairman Ted Dang.
“This new development will provide much-needed low-rent housing for some of
Oakland’s most vulnerable residents.”

“OHA is proud to have played a role in this effort to offer seniors new, safe and
affordable homes,” said OHA Executive Director Jon Gresley.

Together with CCHNC, OHI submitted a joint application for the highly
competitive capital advance grant. While OHI brought the land on which the project will
be built to the cooperative arrangement, CCHNC brought senior rental housing
development and management experience to the grant application. CCHNC will manage
the property once completed.

In addition to 73 one-bedroom apartment units, the complex will include an onsite
manager’s unit, administrative offices, community spaces, laundry, and parking. An
on-site social service coordinator will link residents with services available in the
community in order to promote independent living and “Aging-in-Place.” The proposed
budget for the project is $21.5 million, and includes $5.13 million from the City of
Oakland, and proceeds from the syndication of 4 percent tax credits.

Oakland Housing Initiatives, Inc. (OHI) was founded in 1991 as an affiliate of the
Oakland Housing Authority for the purpose of developing affordable housing in Oakland,
Calif. OHI is a 501c(3) non-profit housing corporation and is governed by an independent
board comprised of 11 members.

Christian Church Homes of Northern California (CCHNC) was founded in 1961
and is the largest, most experienced non profit manager of affordable senior housing in
California. CCHNC is a 501c(3) non-profit housing corporation and is governed by an
independent board comprised of 12 members.

*************
OAKLAND HOUSING INITIATIVES INC
5321 TELEGRAPH AVENUE
OAKLAND, CA 94609

EIN 94-3137613

GENERAL INFORMATION

This organization is a 501(c)(3) Private Operating Foundation.

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Contributions are deductible, as provided by law.

Programs

1. Provides 201 unit affordable housing for low income persons displaced from urban renewal areas, or as a result of governmental action, or a major disaster.

NTEE Code

L20—Housing Development, Construction, Management

*************
KELLER HOUSING INITIATIVES INC
5321 TELEGRAPH AVE
OAKLAND, CA 94609

EIN: 94-3137613

GENERAL INFORMATION

This organization is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity.

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Contributions are deductible, as provided by law.

NTEE Code

L20—Housing Development, Construction, Management

Year Founded:
Information not available

*************
OHA Affiliate to Build
73-Unit Senior Community

http://www.clpha.org/page.cfm?pageID=1170

The Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), its non-profit housing affiliate, Oakland Housing Initiatives (OHI), and its joint venture partner, Christian Church Homes of Northern California (CCHNC), have been awarded an $8.6 million Section 202 Capital Advance Grant to build a low-income senior rental housing complex in the city on OHA-owned land.

"OHA is proud to have played a role in this effort to offer seniors new, safe and affordable homes," said OHA Executive Director Jon Gresley.

Together with CCHNC, OHI submitted a joint application for the highly competitive capital advance grant. OHI brought the land on which the project will be built to the cooperative arrangement, while CCHNC brought senior rental housing development and management experience to the grant application. CCHNC will manage the property once completed.

In addition to 73 one-bedroom apartment units, the complex will include an onsite manager’s unit, administrative offices, community spaces, laundry, and parking. An on-site social service coordinator will link residents with services available in the community in order to promote independent living and "Aging-in-Place."

The proposed budget for the project is $21.5 million, and includes $5.13 million from the City of Oakland, and proceeds from the syndication of 4 percent tax credits.

"We are pleased that Oakland Housing Initiatives and Christian Church Homes of Northern California have been chosen for this grant," said OHI Chairman Ted Dang. "This new development will provide much-needed low-rent housing for some of Oakland’s most vulnerable residents."

OHI was founded in 1991 as an affiliate of the Oakland Housing Authority and is governed by an independent board comprised of 11 members. CCHNC was founded in 1961and is the largest, most experienced non profit manager of affordable senior housing in California.


From: Just Cause Oakland

To: Oakland Housing Authority

August 28, 2008

Dear OHA Board of Commissioners,

There is a housing crisis, and it is causing the displacement of working class people of color in cities across the
country. Here in Oakland, housing costs for homeowners and tenants continue to be sky high, several affordable
housing properties are slated to close along with the non-profit that owns them, and tenants and homeowners
face the loss of their homes due to subprime lending practices. Along with those threats to affordable housing
for our city, the Oakland Housing Authority plans to remove housing from the public housing stock in favor of a
more privatized program.
We need solutions to address the severe need for housing and insufficient funding. However, at Just Cause
Oakland, we do not believe the disposition plan is the answer. We are writing to be able to share some of our
concerns and request a meeting with you to share our position and to hear your position on the disposition
plan. We hope that we can work together to protect public housing residents right to stay.
In the long term, Just Cause Oakland – a housing rights organization of working class people of color whose
neighborhoods and families are directly impacted by gentrification – believes that we need a massive
reinvestment in funding for housing from the federal level down to the local level. We believe that the
government has a role in providing essential services like housing that the market simply doesn’t provide for
everyone.
We learned about the plan and application process through outreach and individual conversations with over 250
residents of scattered site properties, meetings with OHA staff, OHA Board meetings and OHA meetings with
residents. Though we share the understanding that the Housing Authority is underfunded, we have concerns
about the plan to take housing out of the Public Housing program in favor of Section 8 vouchers that rely on an
unspecified affiliate of the OHA and a rental market that already seriously under-serves those with incomes and
physical needs of public housing residents.
The concerns of residents of public housing have led us to oppose the disposition plan. The top concerns
include:
1. We need straightforward answers about the long-term impacts on affordable housing
in Oakland. Oakland’s black population is being displaced – we’ve lost over 20% of the black population
since 2000. Policies like this disposition plan will only push more people out. Experience from previous
redevelopment projects, along with statements from OHA staff that replacement units for scattered site
units will not be in the same location tell us that people will be moved and won’t return. OHA staff provides
vague ideas for properties and tenants, including redevelopment or sale of properties at the same time
people are promised they can stay or go as they like. The “affiliate” who will buy the property for $1 each is
unknown, and the rules regarding management and eligibility for future tenants have not been set. It is
unclear how OHA and the affiliate will guarantee the long-term affordability of units for current or future
tenants. A longer term plan for what will happen to each property– which will be sold off, kept up or
demolished and who will live there – is left out of the disposition plan even though it is clear that disposition
clears the way for future changes in what housing is available to those who depend on public housing and
already face limited housing options.
2. Tenant protections and housing security will be lost because the private housing
market is not a secure place for people to find housing. Removing half of the public housing
stock and replacing it with Section 8 is not an equal trade. Oaklanders need a guarantee that public housing
exists – that housing is not privatized and left to the whims of the market. Not all tenants will qualify for the
program or be able to find suitable housing if they are either required or simply want to move. Unlike the
private market and Section 8, Public Housing provides for particular needs for seniors, veterans, people with
disabilities, as well as families and individuals with limited incomes. There is already a housing crisis in
Oakland. While many people would like to take their voucher and move, many residents may not be able to
find a unit or keep it as the market fluctuates. We can see from the current foreclosure crisis and recent
dot-com boom that the housing market is unstable. Many residents want housing in their neighborhoods and
may not be able to find it if they must relocate. Instability increases with the ability of landlords to opt out of
the Section 8 program – forcing people to move if the landlord can find someone who can pay higher rent.
In addition, using a Section 8 voucher will add costs to tenants – from security deposits to monthly utility
bills. Additional screening of residents for Section 8 may also threaten housing security for the current
tenants and people seeking housing in the future.
3. OHA has a responsibility to ensure that everyone impacted understands the plan and
that resident input – including concerns and opposition – is taken seriously and
reflected the plans. We appreciate that additional resident meetings and comment time have been
added; changing the original plan to get Board of Commissioner Approval in June, before the application and
plans had been drafted. However, many residents feel that their voices are not being taken into account and
questions are not answered adequately. Input spaces have also been rushed and don’t really allow for
everyone’s concerns and opinions to be raised & discussed. Residents who raise questions are cut off,
brushed aside or avoided. One indication of miscommunication is that many residents are preparing to leave
– they’re already packing and ready to take their voucher somewhere else even though the plan will take
months even to be approved. OHA staff have given residents varied and conflicting messages, including in
the same meeting stating: Section 8 vouchers will give people the freedom to move where ever they want,
say that OHA doesn’t want people to move at all, that some of the properties will be sold and replaced off
site in the future, and that some units may be rehabbed but people won’t be guaranteed the right to return.
4. Residents need concrete replacement and relocation plans. Where housing conditions
require sites to be upgraded and residents must move, the housing authority needs to provide not just a
voucher, but a place to move to. Residents should be guaranteed the right to return to the unit, as well as
ongoing communication to ensure people feel they have the right to return and that the choice is not overly
burdensome. If tenants choose to move out of the scattered site units or replacement units are added, the
income limits should reflect the current make up of public housing residents. Currently nearly 80% of public
housing residents in Oakland have incomes below 30% AMI and 95% have incomes below 50% AMI. The
replacement plan shows that income limits will be at 60% AMI. It should be clear that the income limit
should not be the income target.
5. Residents need quality housing conditions and maintenance. We need to prioritize
maintenance rather than come up with plans to get rid of responsibility to provide housing. OHA has a
responsibility to Oakland residents to provide decent housing so that people are not forced to leave
because the conditions make it unbearable to stay. For example, plumbing issues and mold are major
problems that affect both living conditions and health. Some residents also feel skeptical of the recent
beautification of properties and are worried that homes are being fixed up just as the plans are made to for
people to move. Rather than endanger the right of residents to good housing, we want to acknowledge that
there is not enough funding for public housing and would like to fight along with OHA to protect and
improve our public housing stock.
In addition to communicating our thoughts in writing, we believe it is important to meet directly
with you as an OHA Commissioner to hear your thoughts on the plan and how we may
work together to protect Oaklander’s right to stay in their neighborhoods and homes.
Please contact Kim Ota or Vanessa Moses at Just Cause Oakland to schedule a meeting – 510-763-5877.
Sincerely,
Kim Ota
On behalf of Just Cause Oakland

>>>>>>>>>>>
From: The Public Interest Law Project
September 2, 2008

To: Jon Gresley
Executive Director
Oakland Housing Authority
1619 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA 94612

RE: Disposition Application for 1,615 units of Scattered Site Public Housing

Dear Mr. Gresley Ð
The following comments on the draft disposition application are submitted by the
National Housing Law Project, Bay Area Legal Aid and the Public Interest Law
Project. We previously provided comment on this proposal on July 2, 2008, and
August 1, 20008. Some issues raised in those letters remain outstanding, so we
incorporate those comments by reference. These comments are based on the draft
application made available July 1, 2008, and as amended July 8. We understand
that the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) is considering further changes to the
disposition plan and application in response to comments received. As reflected
by these comments, we believe that substantial changes are needed to the
disposition plan in order to make an application that would be in the best interest
of the residents. We therefore ask that OHA provide opportunity to review and
comment on the revised disposition plan prior to its consideration by the Board of
Commissioners.

While we understand the opportunity OHA currently has to pursue the funding
available through a conversion to vouchers, the risks posed to dramatically altering
the decades old public housing program should be carefully mitigated. Once
disposition is complete, OHA will take actions affecting these properties that
cannot be reversed. In order to ensure that existing public housing units remain
affordable, OHA should provide project-based vouchers at the outset of the
disposition process. Through the flexibility allowed under the Moving To Work
(MTW) program, OHA can plan for this disposition and provide tenant protections
by committing to this strategy. We believe that such a step is a necessary element,
but alone is not sufficient, for a disposition plan that is in the best interest of the
residents. In these comments we first provide an overview of the disposition
strategy, then provide specific comments on the proposed disposition application.

Jon Gresley
September 2, 2008
Page 2 of 8
I. Overview of the Disposition Proposal
OHA states that it is pursuing the disposition of 1615 scatter site public housing units
because of insufficient funding for the maintenance and improvement of the sites. OHA
believes that tapping into voucher funding will provide a more stable and reliable source
of funding. We believe that OHA should maintain the units as public housing. It should
inform Congress that there is not enough funds allocated to public housing to maintain it
and request full funding. In addition, it should appeal to the state and local government
for supplemental funds. Residents and advocates will join these requests.
In addition, we believe that the current policy that OHA is pursuing a policy of
replacing hard units of public housing with tenant based assistance is flawed. We believe
this policy is flawed for the following reasons.

¥ It will result in the loss of hard units in Oakland that are affordable to extremely
low income households. Redevelopment of the sites to provide hard units may be
decades away.

¥ Tenant based assistance does not work in all markets. Oakland needs hard units
that are affordable to the lowest income families because we know that Oakland
neighborhoods are gentrifying. Moreover, it is only a matter of time before we
once again have a rental market equivalent to the dot com era when very few
landlords will accept vouchers.

¥ Tenant based assistance does not work for all tenants. Tenant based vouchers do
not work for the lowest income families. The vast majority of landlords in
Oakland require first months rent and a security deposit, some are asking for
first, last and a security deposit. A voucher tenants landlord may demand that a
tenant move after the first year and it will be virtually impossible for many
residents to obtain the funds to secure a new unit. Tenants with disabilities have
great difficulty finding accessible units on the private market. Elderly families
who are forced to move often experience Òrelocation trama.

¥ Loss of public ownership of the units may lead to the eventual loss of these units.
A policy to project-base the vouchers for all 1615 units will address some of our
concerns.

Project basing vouchers will provide increased funding and stability. As an MTW
housing authority, OHA is able to project base 100% the vouchers at the scatter sites.
Project based voucher (PBV) contracts for many of these units should resolve many of
the problems at the sites because of the increased funding. PBV contracts also permit
vacancy payments that could further stabilize the properties. 24 CFR ¤ 983.352
Project based vouchers will provide for flexibility. Project basing vouchers will provide
OHA ample flexibility to deal with development issues as they arise in the near term and
in the future. For a non-MTW jurisdiction, PBV contracts may be entered into for 10
years with commitments to renew, if funds are available, or the contracts may be for
fewer years. (Soon there will be authority for 15 year renewals.) Because OHA is an
MTW jurisdiction, the initial contracts may exceed ten years and therefore be for longer
periods of time.

OHA has stated that the redevelopment of the 1615 units may take upwards of 30 years.
(i.e. 53 units per year). To the extent that OHA is considering phased redevelopment, it
may enter into PBV contracts at particular development for varying lengths of time. In
addition, contracts could be terminated and transferred to other units. For example if the
units in a development cannot be rented, these PBV contracts many be reduced or the
entire contract may be transferred to another building.

Contrasted housing choice vouchers, PBVs do not harm the tenants and provide all
tenants with increased choice. Under current rules, a tenant with a PBV may move with a
tenant based voucher at anytime after the first year of the contract. OHA can provide
applicants at the top of the voucher waiting list an option of accepting a unit at the project
based unit, assuming the family composition is the same, or waiting for the next voucher.
(OHA may consider allowing applicants on the public housing waiting list to occupy
units with PBVs.) No tenant on the voucher waiting list would be required to accept a
project based unit. OHA would not be steering the applicants. They would have the
choice of accepting a project based unit which may be immediately available or waiting
for the voucher. In the event that there are too many project-based tenants who want to
move, OHA could take measures to address the issue. It could provide a preference in
allocation the few available vouchers to tenants who need to move as a reasonable
accommodation, for medical reasons, to obtain or maintain a job, to escape domestic
violence or for a life threatening reason. If too many project based tenants want to move,
OHA should track the requests to determine if there is a pattern and then address the
reasons for the request. OHA also might consider a system of providing a voucher to two
project based voucher holders for every one voucher holder on the wait list.

In addition to providing PBVs, OHAÕs disposition should demonstrate the mechanism to
guarantee affordability over the long term. There are pitfalls that could adversely affect
affordability in many potential options available, and residents need to be assured that
affordability will be protected.

II. Comments on the Disposition Application

Certification of the disposition application Section 18 of the United States Housing Act, governing the disposition of public housing, sets forth the standard for approving a disposition application. It provides, in part, that OHA must certify that the disposition is:

(i) in the best interests of the residents and the public housing agency; (ii)
consistent with the goals of the public housing agency and the public housing
agency plan; and (iii) otherwise consistent with this subchapter. . .

42 U.S.C. ¤1437p(2)(B); see also 24 C.F.R. Part 970. The planned disposition should not
proceed as proposed because it does not conform to the requirements of the statute and
regulations.

The disposition as planned is not in the best interest of the residents
There are six aspects of the proposed disposition plan that place current residents and
applicants in jeopardy: the loss of hard units, the lack of sufficient commitment for deep
affordability targeting, the lack of guarantees for tenant protections, the need for greater
guarantees for diversity, the mechanisms and plans to ensure long-term affordability, the
need to retain large bedroom units. Each of these factors must be addressed to ensure the
disposition application will completely reflect a plan that is in the residents best interest.
At the outset, we note, that making the disposition contingent upon receipt of
replacement vouchers is an aspect of the application that we support as an essential tenant
protection. However, OHA should project-base these replacement vouchers upon their
award from HUD, to protect against these five major deficiencies in the current
disposition plan, described below.

Loss of Hard Units. OHA has committed to one for one replacement of hard units.
However, this outcome may not come about for a decade or more. In the short-term and
mid-term, hundreds of hard units will be lost if there is a conversion to tenant based
vouchers. The proposal assumes up to 518 families may immediately move. For each
family that moves, the existing public housing units only affordable at 60% of AMI, and
is not a ÔhardÕ unit that is affordable to families served by public housing now. OHA
anticipates the process to converting all units to project-based assistance to last up to 30
years, meaning that on average about 50 units per year will be converted. At this rate it
would take 10 years to cover the deficit created if over 500 families did elect to move
initially. In addition, the average voucher turn over rate nationally is 10 percent per year,
so of the 1100 or more units remaining, it can be expected that another 100 units per year
can be expected to be at risk for loss. Even assuming less families move out initially and
over time, the disposition proposal will result in the loss of hundreds of hard units for
years to come. Unless PBVs are used at the outset, hard units will be lost for decades
despite OHAs good faith commitment and best efforts to achieve one for replacement.
There is a great need for hard units of affordable housing. There are special
populations, such as people with disabilities that limit mobility and tenants who are not
well equipped or are too poor to deal effectively with the private market. Tenants with
vouchers must be in a position to move quickly if a landlord no longer participates in the
voucher program and to have resources to pay for security deposits and first and perhaps
last months rent. The loss of hard units is not in the best interest of residents.
Deep Affordability Targeting. The disposition application commits only to make
replacement housing units affordable to families at 60% of Area Median Income, a level
that is not affordable to the overwhelming majority of public housing residents and
applicants. Although OHA proposes to make vouchers available to current residents,
there is no plan to ensure that such vouchers will be used in conjunction with replacement
housing units to maintain a stock of housing that is truly affordable to existing residents.
Once the replacement units are rented, there is no way that displaced residents can take
advantage of such replacement units with vouchers. It is unknown how many existing
residents will choose to move initially and over time, however, the application plans for
1/3 of households moving at the time of disposition. Without ensuring that residents will
be protected through the use of project-based vouchers, OHA is proceeding with a
disposition that could prevent residents and applicants from being able to afford
replacement units.

Furthermore, absent the use of PBVs, the applicants and families on the waiting list for
public housing will be adversely affected by the loss of 1,615 units, about half of the
existing stock. Unless such units can continue to remain affordable to applicants on the
public housing waiting list, it would be unfair to those waiting to remove so many units
from the stock. PBVs could resolve this difficulty by keeping the existing units
affordable. Also, PBVs would provide OHA opportunity to make vacancy payments on
units temporarily vacated, pursuant to 24 C.F.R. ¤ 983.352, to better ensure the financial
viability.

Tenant Protections. The public housing program has a number of protections, including
the limits on termination of the lease without good cause (in the event local law is
changed), the right to grieve actions or omissions of the housing authority, particularly in
the case of a proposed termination of tenancy, and regulated utility payments, as
described in our August 1, 2008 letter. Since OHA has yet to determine what entity will
own the sites after disposition, it is particularly important for these tenant protections to
be guaranteed. In addition, the residents should have an opportunity to interview and
have a voice in determining who will manage the property and what terms and conditions
are placed on any changed conditions of occupancy of the property as a result of
disposition.

Guarantees for Racial and Economic Diversity. The scattered sites provide benefit to
residents in the form of integration in communities throughout Oakland. Some of these
sites are in neighborhoods that are racially segregated, with high poverty rates. However,
the broad distribution of scattered site properties includes those in integrated, prosperous
neighborhoods throughout the City, including Rockridge, Temescal, Piedmont, and
Grand Lake. It is not the best interest of the residents to use these properties for any
other use. The preservation of the affordable housing use on such desirable sites should
be described in the disposition application.

Long Term Affordability Protections. The protection of the long-term affordability of
the units is not adequately described. The one-for-one replacement section of the
application merely employs permissive language that OHA ÒmayÓ hold a ground lease or
utilize other mechanisms to ensure long-term affordability. This is a key term that must
be adequately described to ensure there is public benefit for the disposition of the
properties. The plan should also commit to provide replacement housing sites before
existing scattered sites are demolished, vacated for renovation or sold for other use.
The nature of any long term protection is also impacted by the composition of the entity
to whom OHA plans to transfer the properties. Residents need to know who will control
the future affordability of their homes.

Retention of Large Bedroom Units. The overwhelming majority of the scattered site
public housing units are three bedroom units. This large bedroom mix is a critical
resource to larger families for whom the private market does not provide such larger
units.

OHA must properly consult with residents on the proposed disposition
Federal regulation, 24 C.F.R. ¤970.9, requires the local housing authority to develop the
disposition plan in consultation with residents. Section 7, Line 1 of the draft application
includes a number of meetings that do not reflect resident consultation. Meetings from
2007 through April 2008 do not reflect any opportunity by residents to provide input on
the proposed disposition. For example, the record of the March 27, 2007 RAB meeting
does not describe what, if any, further properties would be disposed of, beyond those
already being redeveloped at that time, nor does it reflect any resident comment on any
proposal. See Attachment A to FY 2008 MTW Annual Plan. Indeed, this section of the
draft application does not reflect that any input was received from residents on these
dates. Rather, it was not until June 2008 that residents gained an opportunity to address
the proposed disposition, however, the first resident consultation occurred just days
before a resolution was placed on the agenda of the Board of Commissioners to authorize
submission of a disposition application. This proposed resolution was considered even
when staff had not yet released a proposed draft disposition application.
Fortunately, the Board of Commissioners considered the testimony of those opposing the
disposition application at the June 23, 2008 hearing, and directed staff to have further
consultation with residents. The recent meetings held have provided much more
information from OHA staff and feedback from affected residents. For these reasons, we
look forward to a substantial discussion and revision of the draft disposition application
overall, and Section 7, Line 1, to reflected resident comments provided at recent meetings
and the comments in this letter.

The disposition application is not consistent with the MTW Annual Plan
The regulations at 24 C.F.R. ¤970.7(a)(1) also require that the disposition application Òis
identicalÓ with the PHA annual plan. The FY 2009 MTW Annual Plan reflects OHAÕs
uncertainty about the proposed disposition, and thus does not amount to a statement that
would support a definite disposition application, but instead states: ÒOHA will consider
various options to dispose of its entire inventory of scattered site public housing.Ó 2009
Plan, Page 17. The description of a proposal Òto considerÓ disposition in the Annual Plan
is not definite enough to be ÒidenticalÓ to the disposition proposal, as ¤970.7(a)(1)
requires. This indefinite plan language also has contributed to surprise among residents
and advocates and undermined the ability to effectively include broad participation in the
creation of the plan. OHAs certification on compliance with the requirements of Section
18 only provides that the application is consistent with the Annual Plan, however, this
again does not satisfy the regulations.

OHA must affirmatively further fair housing
OHA has a duty not just to avoid discriminatory effect, but also to affirmatively further
fair housing. Section 808 of the Fair Housing Act requires that Òthe Secretary of Housing
and Urban Development shall [E] administer the program and activities relating to
housing and urban development in a manner affirmatively to further the policies of this
subchapter.Ó 42 U.S.C. ¤3608(e). PHAs share this duty with HUD, as provided by and
Executive Order 11063 and its implementing regulations. The regulations say that all
participants in HUD housing program must take all action necessary and proper to
prevent discrimination on the basis of race. E.O. 11063 at Part I, ¤101 At a minimum
this means that OHA must gather information about potential racial and socioeconomic
effects so that it may make informed decisions. 24 C.F.R. ¤ 903.7(o).1 QWHRA also
requires that PHAs certify that they will affirmatively further fair housing. 42 U.S.C.
¤1437c-1(d)(15).2

There are a large number of variables yet undecided in the disposition application that
could have a substantial impact on the racial composition of future replacement housing
units. In particular, retention of desirable properties, and the sighting of replacement units
are substantial concerns. OHA should carefully study these potential impacts and plan
accordingly to ensure that the implementation of any disposition plans will affirmatively
further fair housing.

1 The basic duties of the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing are as follows. ÒCivil rights
certification. (1) . . . The PHA also must certify that it will affirmatively further fair housing . . (3) A
PHA shall be considered in compliance with the certification requirement to affirmatively further fair
housing if the PHA . . (i) Examines its programs or proposed programs; (ii) Identifies any impediments to
fair housing choice within those program; (iii) Addresses those impediments in a reasonable fashion in
view of the resources available; (iv) Works with local jurisdictions to implement any of the jurisdictions
initiatives to affirmatively further fair housing that require the PHAÕs involvement; and (v) Maintains
records reflecting these analyses and actions.

2 In addition to statutory guidance, a number of cases have addressed HUD and PHAs duty to affirmatively
further housing. See, e.g., NAACP, Boston Chapter v. SecÕy of HUD, 817 F.2d 149, 154 (1st Cir.
1987)(rejecting HUDÕs argument that it only had a duty to avoid discrimination and noting that this duty
includes, among other things, such actions such as determining whether a redevelopment will lead to
increased segregation); Darst-Webbe Tenant AssÕn Bd. V. St. Louis Hous. Auth., 339 F.3d 702, 713 (8th Cir.
2003)(remanding a case challenging a Hope VI development on the basis that the District Court did not
appropriately consider whether the housing authority had fulfilled its obligation to affirmatively further fair
housing); Shannon v. HUD, 436 F.2d 809, 816 (3rd Cir. 1970); Langlois v. Abington Hous. Auth., 234 F.
Supp. 2d 33 (D. Mass. 2002)(discussing in detail, a PHAÕs duties under both Title VIII and the QHWRA).

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