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Efforts to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has stalled

by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Due to a lack of public support, the plans to terminate Berkeley's public housing program have been put on hold, for a while!


Efforts to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has stalled

by Lynda Carson -- April 9, 2010

Berkeley -- Due to a lack of public support, the plans to terminate Berkeley's public housing program have been put on hold, for a while.

According to documents released by the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) on April 8, 2010, efforts to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has stalled as the BHA attempts to limit any more free speech activities (1st amendment rights) that would cause or contribute to any further unrest among Berkeley's public housing resident population.

During late December 2009, the BHA filed a disposition plan with HUD to announce that the BHA intends to terminate it's public housing program, and intends to sell it's occupied public housing units to a nonprofit developer. The BHA expected HUD's approval sometime in April to terminate Berkeley's public housing program, but that expectation may also be on hold for the moment.

Currently, BHA's Executive Director Tia Ingram is outraged and claims that there has been a lot of speculation in the press that Berkeley's public housing units will be sold to a local nonprofit housing developer, that public housing residents will lose critical protections, and that the BHA will receive "kick-backs" or other illegal payments from the new owner of Berkeley's 75 public housing units, after the units are sold in the near future.

In an April 8, 2010, terse statement from Tia Ingram to the BHA's board of directors, Ingram also states that since the BHA's board embarked on the project of repositioning (terminating) it's public housing program in August 2007, the composition of the board has changed considerably since 2007, and she proposes that the BHA needs to pause for a while in it's disposition plan, so that they can review the BHA's options and the plan to terminate Berkeley's public housing program in further detail.

As a result of the April 8, terse statement to the BHA board by Ingram, the plan to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has officially been placed on hold for the moment, and agenda "Item 7D" that would have authorized Ingram to execute phase 2 of the contract with Overland, Pacific and Cutler (OPC) to relocate / displace Berkeley's public housing residents, has also been pulled from the April 8 agenda. The plan to displace Berkeley's public housing residents from their housing, is also on hold.

During this so-called pause, in an effort to regroup and get others on board with the scheme to terminate Berkeley's public housing program and sell it's 75 public housing units to a nonprofit developer, Ingram has scheduled an April 23 workshop to refresh the minds of the BHA's current board of directors on the subject of the disposition plan, and the BHA's several options. The workshop is meant to focus on a detailed discussion of the pros and cons of a July 2009 strategic plan that recommends the termination of Berkeley's public housing program, by EJP Consulting Group.

The April 23, workshop may also cost the BHA an additional $7,500 just to have members of the EJP Consultant Group as part of the workshop discussions, for a total sum of $69,770 being payed to EJP Consulting for it's services to the BHA, in the effort to devise a plan to terminate Berkeley's public housing program.

In an April 8, 2010, BHA agenda item 7C, it states that the BHA's staff wants to have the April 23 workshop to ensure that all of the BHA's board members have sufficient information upon which to base a decision regarding the preferred disposition option (plan to terminate Berkeley's public housing program).

Additionally, in a recent March 24, 2010, letter to Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Stephen Schneller, BHA's Tia Ingram complains that her "disposition plan" to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has created a lot of anxiety for Berkeley's public housing residents, and in her letter to HUD Ingram blames reporting in the local press about the disposition plan as being the cause for her problems in finding an entity thats willing to manage Berkeley's public housing program.

In the March 24, letter from Ingram to Schneller, she requests that HUD backs off of the requirement that Berkeley's public housing program must be managed by an entity, other than the BHA. The BHA has been in troubled status with HUD since 2005, due to the mismanagement of it's public housing program.

In the March letter to HUD, Ingram tries to explain why the BHA has done poorly in several areas recently in operating it's public housing program, but explains that the BHA is trying to do better, and in the same letter Ingram also gives a status update to HUD on the BHA's disposition plan, that was filed during late December 2009, to terminate Berkeley's public housing program.

Furthermore, as Ingram describes the status of the disposition plan to HUD's Schneller as something that has created a lot of anxiety for Berkeley's public housing residents, Ingram assures HUD that the BHA is attempting to limit any activity that would cause or contribute any further unrest among Berkeley's residential public housing population. The letter was copied to David Solis a BHA, LIPH manager, and was also sent to 2 HUD deputy directors.

Berkeley's public housing residents have spoken out against the plan to terminate Berkeley's public housing program, and on November 3, 2009, many of Berkeley's public housing residents appeared at several BHA meetings to speak out against the plan to terminate Berkeley's public housing program.

In addition, Berkeley's public housing residents also appeared at several of Berkeley's City Council meetings recently to exert their first amendment rights while publicly speaking out against the proposed disposition plan, to terminate Berkeley's public housing program.

In the recent March 24, letter to HUD's Schneller, BHA's Executive Director Tia Ingram did not state exactly how she planned to limit any further freedoms, speech activities or meetings of Berkeley's public housing residents, to stop them from causing or contributing to any further unrest among Berkeley's residential public housing population, beyond what Ingrams disposition plan has already caused.

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

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