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HUD’s attack on the poor in the Bay Area must be rejected by Congress
by Lynda Carson
Tuesday May 8th, 2018 2:55 PM
HUD Secretary Ben Carson wants to triple the rents on some tenants, and raise from 30% to 35%, the share of a household’s income that it must pay in rent. Additionally, Secretary Carson wants to add more work requirements on those receiving assistance in HUD’s housing programs!
HUD’s attack on the poor in the Bay Area and across the nation must be rejected by Congress

By Lynda Carson - May 8, 2018

Oakland - In the last week of April 2018, HUD Secretary Ben Carson launched his latest attack on low-income renters in HUD’s subsidized housing programs.

Secretary Carson wants to triple the rents on some tenants, and raise from 30% to 35%, the share of a household’s income that it must pay in rent. Additionally, Secretary Carson wants to add more work requirements on those receiving assistance in HUD’s housing programs.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) latest proposals to raise the rents on the poor in HUD’s affordable housing programs place thousands of Bay Area low-income renters at risk of losing their housing and becoming homeless. HUD’s proposals to raise the rent on veterans, the elderly, blind, disabled, chronically ill, and low-income families must be rejected by Congress.

Based on HUD’s own records, 79% of HUD-assisted households have an average annual income below $20,000, with 40% of those households having an annual income of $10,000 to $19,999. Only 20% of HUD-assisted households have an annual income of $20,000 or more.

During 2017, according to HUD the Oakland Housing Authority had 13,422 federally subsidized housing units in it’s section 8 inventory, and 2,122 units in its low rent inventory formerly known as public housing units.

San Francisco had 9,711 units in its section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 3,756 units in its low rent inventory. San Francisco was in the process of privatizing more than 4,584 public housing units under the RAD program. South San Francisco had 80 units in its low rent inventory.

In other cities in the Bay Area, the Richmond Housing Authority had 1,851 units in its section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 559 units in its low rent inventory.

Berkeley Housing Authority had 1,935 units in its section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and has sold its 75 public housing town homes to some out of state billionaires.

Alameda Housing Authority had 1,845 units in it’s section 8 subsidized housing inventory. The Alameda County Housing Authority had 6,341 units in it’s section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and one low rent housing development managed by the agency.

In Contra Costa County, there were 6,921 units in their section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 1,177 low rent units.

And Marin County had 2,162 units in their section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 496 low rent units during 2017.

According to a 2017 study from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies some of the most cost-burdened renter communities in the nation are in California. Examples are numerous, and according to Zumper during April 2018, with some of the highest rents in the nation the median rent in Oakland for a one bedroom apartment was $2,140. In San Francisco the median rent for a one bedroom apartment is $3,400, and the median rent in San Jose for a one bedroom apartment is $2,470.

HUD Secretary Carson’s proposals are denounced across the nation.

On April 25, the Congressional Black Caucus denounced Secretary Carson’s proposals: “It is ironic that a man who used taxpayer dollars to buy a $30,000 dining room table for the federal agency he leads wants to raise rent on poor people." 
 
“Secretary Carson’s immoral, ill-advised proposal is the latest example of the Trump Administration’s war on poor people. It is clear he is not familiar with the Bible story about the Good Samaritan who comes upon someone in need and is inspired by his faith to help them. Thankfully this proposal would require Congressional approval before it can become law, and the Congressional Black Caucus will work with our colleagues in Congress to oppose it and other related measures. The Congressional Black Caucus will also continue to stand up and speak out for the underprivileged and underrepresented."

“In addition to this proposal, the Trump Administration is making changes to Medicaid, housing programs, and nutrition programs that would result in sicker families, increased homelessness, and hungrier children. Plain and simple, this is not who we are as a country and these actions will result in a less perfect union.”

In a letter from Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris they both rejected Secretary Carson’s proposals to raise the rent on the poor in California, and claim that his proposals will worsen the already-dire affordable housing crisis in California.

Letters from Senator Tina Smith, and members of Congress in New York also reject Secretary Carson’s proposals to raise the rent on low-income tenants in HUD’s subsidized housing programs.

The National Alliance of HUD Tenants also denounced HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s proposals: “Elected leaders of the national US tenants union today denounced the housing bill proposed April 25 by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a “vicious and cruel” assault on the poorest of the poor."
    
“Carson’s proposals will push millions of people from their homes.  Carson’s plan is not about moving people to work--its about needlessly cutting people from programs that enable them to find work,” says Ed Lucas, 59, President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), Marine Corp vet and director of a neighborhood jobs center, who lives in a resident-owned, HUD-assisted building in Chicago.   “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day.  Congress should reject them out of hand.”

Reportedly, Los Angeles tenants recently led the charge against the cruel proposals of HUD Secretary Carson at an event in Las Vegas, before they were forced out of the event.

And reportedly, according to the Topeka Housing Authority, HUD rent creases are potentially ‘devastating’ for residents in Topeka public housing if Secretary Carson’s proposals are enacted.

HUD Secretary Carson’s proposals will harm low-income tenants across the nation.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if enacted the Trump Administration and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s proposals will harm all of the low-income tenants in HUD’s subsidized housing programs:

“The legislation would raise rents for seniors and people with disabilities now receiving assistance, despite Administration claims to the contrary. Though most would see their rents rise more slowly than other households, they would pay more. And equally needy seniors, people with disabilities, and other households that aren’t receiving assistance now but do so in the future would pay higher rents immediately.”

The plan would: “Raise, from 30 to 35 percent, the share of a household’s income that it must pay in rent if it includes anyone aged 18 to 65 who doesn’t qualify as disabled under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) limited definition. Rent increases would average $117 per month. Most of the increase would fall on low-wage workers, who typically have little if any money to cover added costs after paying for other basic needs and work expenses like child care and transportation.”

“Raise the minimum rents for households with little or no income, most frequently by about $100 a month. Virtually all of the 700,000 or so affected families have incomes below the poverty line, so they would find it very hard to pay higher rents. The 1 million or so children in those families are already among the nation’s most vulnerable; the Trump plan would expose them to added hardship and risk. (Some of the affected families could be eligible for hardship exemptions, but experience shows that those exemptions protect few families, and HUD has not complied with a 2016 congressional directive to certify that agencies are enforcing existing protections.)”

“Eliminate income deductions that reduce rents for certain households that likely have high out-of-pocket expenses. About half of these deductions go to elderly and disabled households, nearly all of which would see rent increases from the change. The plan would also eliminate a child care deduction that enables many working parents with rental assistance to afford to work.”

“In addition, the plan would give HUD unlimited authority to impose additional rent increases, allowing it to drastically cut rent subsidies for low-income Americans without congressional approval.”

Making matters worse, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the Trump Administration plans to take back (rescind) $15 billion in funding that is sitting in old spending accounts, including HUD’s accounts.

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

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Trump’s recessions package submitted on Tuesday May 8, 2018Lynda CarsonTuesday May 8th, 2018 9:22 PM