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New protections for Section 8 voucher holders (Housing Choice Voucher Holders)
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Wednesday Oct 9th, 2019 8:18 PM
According to HUD’s records on 10/08/2019, in San Francisco there are 13,798 units in its Section 8 inventory, Oakland has 13,614 Section 8 units, Berkeley has 1,995 Section 8 units, Alameda has 1,885 Section 8 units, Alameda County has 6,684 Section 8 units, Contra Costa County has 9,235 Section 8 units, and Marin Housing has 2,205 Section 8 units listed. Oddly, the City of Richmond does not have any Section 8 units listed in HUD’s records.
New protections for Section 8 voucher holders (Housing Choice Voucher Holders)

By Lynda Carson - October 9, 2019

Yesterday Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 329, a bill that protects Section 8 tenants (a.k.a. Housing Choice Voucher holders). SB 329 makes it illegal in California beginning Jan. 1, 2020, for landlords to reject a Section 8 voucher holder as a prospective tenant solely based on the applicants use of a federally subsidized Section 8 housing voucher (a.k.a. Housing Choice Voucher).

The bill SB 329 bans blanket policies landlords use to discriminate against Section 8 tenants who use the federally subsidized vouchers to pay a portion of their rent. SB 329 requires landlords to treat Section 8 voucher holders like any other applicant trying to find a rental unit. The new law will also prohibit landlords from using “No Section 8” advertisements, that are commonly used to discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders.

Section 8 voucher holders who believe that a landlord has not given them fair consideration as a prospective renter after the new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, are urged to contact an attorney or the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing to see if they have a legal case against the offending landlord.

Housing Choice Voucher Program a.k.a. Section 8 Voucher Program:

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program. The PHA calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.”

Landlords Discriminating Against Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Holders:

Reportedly, it is common for landlords in California to discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders, and some landlords are notorious for writing “No Section 8” in their rental ads on websites including Zillow or Craigslist. As recent as August 2019, reportedly a search on Zumper.com, a rental website that includes a Section 8 filter, out of 16,500 rental postings stretching across California from San Diego to Sacramento, there were less than 1% of the postings that accepted Section 8 vouchers.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), during 2018 in California there were 526,000 households that used federal rental assistance to afford a modest rental unit, including 67% of the households that had seniors, children or people with disabilities.

Out of the 526,000 households that used federal rental assistance in California, there were 301,100 households that were Section 8/Housing Choice voucher holders.

Additionally, according to HUD’s records on 10/08/2019, in San Francisco there are 13,798 units in its Section 8 inventory, Oakland has 13,614 Section 8 units, Berkeley has 1,995 Section 8 units, Alameda has 1,885 Section 8 units, Alameda County has 6,684 Section 8 units, Contra Costa County has 9,235 Section 8 units, and Marin Housing has 2,205 Section 8 units listed. Oddly, the City of Richmond does not have any Section 8 units listed in HUD’s records.

As of September 19, 2019, the FY20 budget chart for selected HUD and USDA subsidized housing programs posted by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) may be found by clicking here.

In years past, the Trump Regime and HUD Secretary Ben Carson have been trying to drastically cut the budget for HUD’s subsidized housing programs, however Congress has declined to allow the Trump Regime and Secretary Ben Carson to destroy HUD’’s much needed federally subsidized housing programs.

As reported on National Public Radio (NPR) on April 3, 2019, “Lawmakers told Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson that there's little chance Congress will accept the Trump administration's plan to make deep cuts in housing and development programs.The president's 2020 budget calls for eliminating the Community Development Block Grant program, the public housing capital fund and the HOME grant program for more affordable housing, for a one-year savings of more than $7 billion. But these programs are popular among lawmakers, especially local officials who say they desperately need money to help their low-income communities.”

Recently, the Trump Regime has been threatening to go after the unhoused/homeless populations in the Bay Area, and Los Angeles.

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

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