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Section 8 renters face discrimination and are being abused
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Thursday Dec 10th, 2015 3:45 AM
There is plenty of documentation and evidence revealing that Section 8 renters are being targeted, and are facing major problems in Oakland, the Bay Area, and across the nation because very few states, counties, and cities prohibit discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders!
Section 8 renters face discrimination and are being abused

By Lynda Carson - December 10, 2015

Oakland - Section 8 renters are facing major problems in Oakland, the Bay Area, and across the nation because very few states, counties, and cities prohibit discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders.

The “Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program” provides rental assistance to the most vulnerable members of our nation, including woman with children, the elderly, and disabled. Section 8 renters generally pay 30% - 40% of the rent to the landlord, and sometimes more, and the housing program pays the rest.

Despite the major problems Section 8 renters face because of discrimination, the Section 8 Voucher Program, presently called the Housing Choice Voucher Program, has become the dominant form of federal housing assistance across the nation. With more than 5 million people, in 2.1 million low-income families that are currently using vouchers to subsidize their rents, it is a very successful program all across the nation.

However, in October, it was reported that 609 residents in Oakland had secured a federal Section 8 housing voucher during 2015, and only around 115 of them had managed to find housing in Oakland with their vouchers.

During April of 2015, in the nearby City of Richmond, it was reported that many public housing tenants trying to relocate away from slum conditions at their public housing units could not move, because landlords declined to accept their Section 8 vouchers.

Click below for more about Richmond voucher holders…

http://tinyurl.com/ptzcc4y

Before a City Council vote took place and passed in Santa Monica, CA., to protect Section 8 renters, according to Denise McGranahan, senior attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation in Los Angeles, as of May 2015, only 12 states, 9 counties, and 18 cities have outlawed discrimination against section 8 renters.

“Studies suggest that landlords discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders as a pretext for discriminating against minorities, disabled, and families with children,” McGranahan said. “These populations are over represented in the Section 8 program, including in Santa Monica, as compared to the general population,” reported David Mark Simpson.

Section 8 Renters Face Many Kinds Of Problems & Discrimination

In a court ruling during late November 2015, that affects thousands of poor Section 8 tenants in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Richmond, and millions across the nation, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles illegally cut subsidies to thousands of Section 8 renters.

During 2004, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) cut Section 8 housing subsidies for around 20,000 low-income residents without giving proper notice in advance, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared.

The illegal cut-backs to the rental subsidies for the poor Section 8 tenants resulted in many elderly and disabled residents, including families with young children, paying much higher rents that averaged around $104 more per month, the court said.

According to court documents, the Housing Authority failed to provide comprehensible information to Section 8 beneficiaries about the payment standard change and its effect one year in advance of the change’s implementation.

Click below for more…

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/12/01/18780583.php

In a different case, on July 20, 2015, the Justice Department announced a settlement with the Housing Authority of Los Angeles County (HACoLA), and the cities of Lancaster, California, and Palmdale, California, to resolve allegations that these parties targeted African Americans with discriminatory enforcement of the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, according to a press release.  The parties have agreed to enter into a court-enforceable agreement that will provide broad relief meant to ensure unbiased enforcement of the voucher program so that African-American voucher holders in the Antelope Valley are not targeted because of their race.

“Local government officials worked with the Los Angeles County Housing Authority and the Sheriff’s Department to subject African-American families to discriminatory enforcement actions in an effort to discourage them from using Housing Choice vouchers to live in Lancaster and Palmdale,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.  “This type of discrimination is fundamentally wrong and is inconsistent with American values of freedom and equality.  This settlement, together with an earlier settlement with the Sheriff’s department, will ensure it does not recur, and will also provide more than $2.6 million to compensate those harmed.”

Click on link below for more…

http://tinyurl.com/o36uzoo

In a July 31, 2015 press release from Congresswoman Maxine Waters, she blasts the housing authority, and Sheriff’s Department for their use of discriminatory actions against the Section 8 renters.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters released the following statement:

“I am appalled by recent revelations of discriminatory and illegal actions of the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster, along with the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles and Sheriff’s Department, against low-income African American residents in the County’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. The Department of Justice findings that are being resolved with these settlement agreements are simply shameful and part of a disgraceful effort to discourage these families from utilizing their Section 8 vouchers to live in certain neighborhoods.

The complaint filed by the DOJ against HACoLA acknowledged that the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster have a ‘history of residential racial segregation and of excluding African-American residents.’ From the use of excessive force, to biased policing practices, including housing discrimination, and unlawful searches and seizures, HACoLA and the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s department conspired to unfairly target these residents. They actively sought to undermine the intent of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, which is to provides low-income families with the opportunity to move into neighborhoods with greater opportunities, such as better schools and better employment prospects.

With the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act, and HUD’s recent release of its final regulation to clarify and strengthen a key aspect of the Fair Housing Act, conservatives continue to claim that segregation in American neighborhoods is simply the result of personal preferences, not discrimination. Nevertheless, these settlement agreements are prime examples of why this is a false assumption. Minorities continue to be actively discriminated against in the housing market, facing targeted harassment from police and local officials for simply choosing to live in certain neighborhoods.”

Click below for full press release…

http://tinyurl.com/j832x5x

In another case during 2009, a family of Section 8 landlords, Riaz, Maryam and Mark Patras of Antioch, CA, who have rented several homes to Section 8 families, have sued the City of Antioch and five members of its Police Department in federal court for civil rights violations, including loss of rental income, emotional distress, humiliation and loss of privacy. They have also alledged that the police department’s Community Action Team (CAT) used rough and illegal tactics to force the landlords to evict their Section 8 tenants, all of whom are African-American.

Click on link below for more…

http://tinyurl.com/h3oyzjj

The City of Antioch has faced numerous allegations regarding discrimination against Section 8 renters, and the targeting of Section 8 renters, that have made it into the news throughout the San Francisco Bay Area on different occasions.

Click below for more information regarding the cops in Antioch who allegedly targeted Section 8 renters…

http://www.publicadvocates.org/project-news/all/541

There is plenty of documentation and evidence revealing that Section 8 renters are being targeted, and are facing major problems in Oakland, the Bay Area, and across the nation because very few states, counties, and cities prohibit discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders.

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

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Privatization of Section 8 vouchers?Lynda CarsonThursday Dec 10th, 2015 5:53 PM
Section 8 "A Voluntary Federal Program"J. BenningThursday Dec 10th, 2015 2:56 PM