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Oakland proposal to redefine affordable housing harms the poor
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Monday Apr 18th, 2016 5:49 PM
Redefining the definition of affordable housing, and transferring $800,000 in funds from the affordable housing trust fund to middle class income earners making as much as $110,350 a year, is an obscene way to ignore the fact that Oakland is in the midst of a housing crisis!

Oakland proposal to redefine affordable housing harms the poor

By Lynda Carson - April 19, 2016

Oakland - The City of Oakland plans to redefine the definition of affordable housing so the City can spend impact fee funds on a family of three earning as much as $110,350, which is 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). Additionally, the City wants to redefine two other affordable housing funding sources so that middle class households are eligible for funds that used to be for the poor, according to the East Bay Express.

On Tuesday April 19, in the Oakland City Council meeting "agenda item section" of S7.31 (NOFA Housing Policy Recommendations) it reads: “A Resolution Amending Resolution Nos. 81961 And 82989 C.M.S. To Increase Income Limits For Households Participating In The First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Assistance Program From 100% Of Area Median Income To 120% Of Area Median Income, And Modify The Corresponding Calculation For The Purchase Price Limit, And Authorizing The Transfer Of $800,000 To The Program From The Affordable Housing Trust Fund [TITLE CHANGE]; And.”

Redefining the definition of affordable housing, and transferring $800,000 in funds from the affordable housing trust fund to middle class income earners making as much as $110,350 a year, is an obscene way to ignore the fact that Oakland is in the midst of a housing crisis. Transferring affordable housing funds from the poor to the middle class and redefining affordable housing, is not the way to solve Oakland’s housing crisis.

The scheme to redefine affordable housing is happening at a time when public housing is being sold off to so-called affordable housing developers in nearby San Francisco through the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD).

Privatizing public housing projects is bad for the poor and the union workers who work at public housing projects. Public housing projects do not have minimum income requirements that discriminate against the poor, compared to many so-called affordable housing projects that exclude the poor from their projects with minimum income requirements.

Thousands of Oakland’s poor and disabled have the greatest need for affordable housing, but are often being excluded from affordable housing projects because of “minimum income requirements.”

Most poor persons being excluded from many so-called nonprofit housing projects are being excluded because they are earning less than 30 percent of AMI, and the latest proposal in Oakland to redefine affordable housing will result in making the housing crisis even worse for the poor.

As an example of what is going on, recently an article about a so-called 59 unit nonprofit affordable housing project in Oakland failed to mention that the project excludes renters earning less than 30 percent of AMI.

Additionally, in April 2016, at some San Francisco, and East Bay so-called affordable housing projects: At Bayanihan House owned by TODCO, they demand that the poor must earn $8,889 a year to live there. At the 735 Ellis Street Apartments owned by Asia Inc, they demand that the poor must earn $16,488 a year to live in one of their housing units. At Park Alameda, Resources for Community Development (RCD) demands that a person must earn $26,920 a year to live there. In Antioch, Rivertown Senior Housing owned by CCH, they demand that a poor person must earn 30 percent of the AMI to live there. In Hercules, The Arbors owned by Bridge Housing, they demand that a poor person must earn $15,792 a year to live there.

During June 2015, in some San Francisco, and East Bay so-called affordable housing projects: At Briton Court Apartments, Mercy Housing excludes the poor who do not earn 2.5 times the rent. Crescent Cove which is run by China Town CDC demands that the poor must earn $25,440 to rent a studio apartment, and $35,700 to rent a one bed-room unit. KNOX SRO owned by TODCO demands that the poor must earn $1,700 a month to live in one of their SROs. In Oakland at Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments owned by SAHA Homes, they demand that the tenant in a studio apartment must earn $11,328 a year, and that a tenant must earn $18,408 a year to live in a one bed-room unit. At St. Matthew Apartments in San Mateo owned by Midpen-Housing, they demand that a renter must earn twice the rent to live in an SRO housing unit. At Giant Road Apartments owned by EBALDC in San Pablo, they are demanding that the poor must earn 30 percent of AMI.

In October 2016, in San Francisco and the East Bay so-called affordable housing projects: At Parkview Terrace in San Francisco owned by China Town CDC, they demand that a poor person must earn $1,680 a month to rent a studio apartment. In Oakland at Oak Street Terrace owned by SAHA Homes they are demanding that the poor must have a minimum income of $19,320 a year to live there.

The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit for January 2016 is only $1,341 per month, and for the disabled on SSI their income is only $889 a month.

Excluding the poor from so-called affordable housing projects with “minimum income requirements” is a disaster for those who realize that their income is not high enough to reside in a so-called affordable housing project.

Eviction stories are all over the news wires lately, revealing that the majority of people being evicted from their housing all across the nation are women with children. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, there is a shortage of 7.2 million affordable housing units across the nation. With sequestration budget cuts devastating the nation’s subsidized housing programs while executives in the so-called affordable housing sector continue to receive hefty pay increases, the homeless shelters remain filled with the poor because millions of dollars are being diverted from the section 8 program, to pay the exorbitant salaries of the executives in the so-called affordable housing industry.

In the midst of a housing crisis, Oakland’s scheme to redefine the definition of affordable housing so that funding from the affordable housing trust fund can be transferred from the poor to the middle class, is a recipe for disaster.

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

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