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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | U.S. | Health, Housing, and Public Services
RAD's shifting sands places San Francisco's public housing at risk
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, and they are currently pushing Congress to allow 250,000 public housing units to be privatized under RAD!
RAD's shifting sands places San Francisco's public housing at risk
By Lynda Carson - June 26, 2014
San Francisco -- The move to privatize and rehabilitate two-thirds of San Francisco's public housing units under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program has created a world of shifting sands underneath the feet of the residents in 4,575 public housing units, at 41 properties.
The scheme to privatize the 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.
The RAD program is basically the same as President George W. Bush's "Housing Reinvestment Initiative," that encouraged Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to privatize our nation's public housing units for short term gain, which is shortsighted with irreversible actions, and decisions.
The thousands of public housing units in San Francisco that are being privatized under the RAD program are all scheduled to be rehabilitated, and the rehabilitation projects are expected to begin on or before June 15, 2015.
Once the rehab projects begin the poor, elderly and disabled former public housing residents can forget all about their right to privacy, or the right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their homes once the new owners start pushing them around.
The new owners will want to peek into every corner of their closets and homes over and over again, with one contractor after another for inspections. The tenants will be threatened with eviction if they do not meet the whims and demands of the new owners, at any given moment for an inspection or demand for entry into their homes.
The tenants will be forced to sign new contracts that may threaten their current rights as public housing tenants, and they may be forced to sign contracts for an apartment that they can no longer afford to reside in. The public housing tenants may end up being pushed around by newly hired people who are poorly trained, and do not know anything about tenant's rights, or how to serve a notice properly to enter their homes with a "24 hour notice."
The tenants will find out very quickly that their mere existence places them in the the way of the RAD program rehab projects, and they are going to be pushed around by new contracts, inspections, one threatening deadline after another, and overeager construction crews that will not have any mercy for the poor tenants who are in the way of the construction work that will take place in each building, or rental unit.
At times, once the rehab projects begin the tenants will find that their water may be turned off, or their electricity, or that they are too sick to deal with the deadlines of the "project managers" that will want take control of their lives in the name of the RAD program.
The tenant's lives will be filled with dust, noise and misery once the RAD program really kicks in, and begins to shred their lives and their rights as a tenant, on a daily basis.
On another front, once the RAD program takeover occurs, the so-called affordable housing developers will milk every penny they can from the privatized public housing units with the salary and wage compensation of their employees. Plus the management fees they will charge, and professional fees, maintenance fees, developers fees and any other fee they can possibly dream of to scam the newly obtained public housing units, out of as much money as is possible.
At this point the public housing tenants do not know where they will live when their homes have been taken over for the RAD rehab projects, or where they will place their belongings during the project, and they will have to learn how to hide their most private possessions when one person after another will want to enter their home, when the RAD program fully consumes their lives.
The End Of Public Housing
After our nation's public housing units are privatized and converted by RAD into so-called affordable housing mixed income developments, the poor will eventually lose their low-income housing. Affordable housing developers have minimum income requirements that discriminate against the poor, and the poor will eventually be displaced, and will have nowhere else to live.
As an example, many PHAs across the nation charge households or residents "flat rents" as low as $25, $50 or as little as $100 per month for rent, and the RAD program turns HUD's public housing rental subsidy into a Section 8 contract that faces on-going budget cuts from Congress in the past recent years.
The end result is that there is not going to be enough Section 8 funding for debt service of the newly privatized public housing units being rehabilitated under the RAD program, and the new owners are going to be compelled to dump the poor out of their housing in exchange for higher income renters that can pay off the "debt" on the rehabilitated units, or face the risk of foreclosure.
Making matters worse, the contracts between the PHAs and the new owners of the RAD program's privatized public housing units are only good for 20 years at best. After that these so-called affordable housing units are going to be on very shaky ground indeed.
Protests Against The RAD Public Housing Privatization Program
Tenants and union workers have spoken out against the scheme to privatize our nation's public housing units through the RAD program in San Francisco, and Baltimore recently. Most recently during the week of June 23, it was reported that the tenants at the Asheville Public Housing Authority in North Carolina spoke out against the RAD program. The tenants and coalition members against the RAD program in Asheville claim that they were not adequately informed or that their concerns were not taken into consideration before the PHA moved forward with the plan to convert Asheville's public housing units, under the RAD program. The Asheville PHA posted the information about the RAD program in a location that the public housing tenants were not aware of, according to 30 tenants at a recent PHA meeting about RAD.
As required in the RAD notice, and prior to submitting an application for the RAD program, PHAs are required to notify public housing residents of projects being proposed for conversion under the RAD program, including notice to legitimate resident organizations.
The PHAs are also required to have conducted at least two meetings with residents about projects being proposed for conversion under the RAD program to discuss conversion plans, and to provide time for comment by all the residents involved. The PHAs are required to prepare comprehensive written responses to comments received in connection with the required resident meetings on the proposed conversion to be submitted with the RAD application. And if the PHA is selected to participate in the RAD program, it must have at least one more meeting with residents before HUD will execute a HAP contract.
PHAs must continue to offer all existing tenants a right to return after their units have been rehabilitated under the RAD program, unless the PHA obtained an appropriate voluntary waiver of this right. Tenants should be very cautious about signing anything, or any new contracts that may be considered to be a waiver that keeps them from moving back into their housing. Tenants should seek legal advice before signing any new contracts that may displace them from their housing.
According to published reports, public housing tenants and union workers at PHAs across the nation have been complaining that PHAs have not been informing them properly about the RAD program that was created to privatize their public housing units.
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, and they are currently pushing Congress to allow 250,000 public housing units to be privatized under RAD.
For a reservation list of public housing units across the nation that are currently scheduled to be privatized under the RAD program, click on the link below...
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com