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Budget cuts, and the pathway to homelessness in Oakland

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  • Lynda Carson
    Published on Indy Bay News Wire... http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/04/11/18676920.php [[[Budget cuts create a pathway to homelessness in Oakland, and a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2011
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      Published on Indy Bay News Wire...


      [[[Budget cuts create a pathway to homelessness in Oakland, and a Tea Party/GOP extremist FY12 budget proposal called the "Path to Prosperity" is a cynical master plan to enrich the rich, while creating starvation and homelessness for everyone else!]]]

      Budget cuts, and the pathway to homelessness in Oakland

      By Lynda Carson -- April 11, 2011

      Oakland -- People are so desperate in these harsh economic times where the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes, during January of 2011, the Oakland Housing Authority opened up it's Section 8 waiting list (Housing Choice Voucher Program), and it was expected that around 100,000 needy low-income families would apply for the coveted subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers during the five-day application period. The Section 8 voucher contracts allow the low-income households to pay only 30 to 40 percent of their income towards rent, and the government would subsidize the remainder in monthly rental payments to the landlord.

      Despite the need for more Section 8 vouchers for the poor, Oakland Housing Authority executive director Eric Johnson stated in a Chronical article, "There are currently only 650 vouchers available, and about 50 vouchers get freed up every month."

      Presently with 13,777 Section 8 vouchers in use in Oakland, the Section 8 program has offered stability to thousands of low-income families in Oakland since the 70s, and have kept thousands of households from becoming homeless.

      All that may soon change. During the week of April 11, 2011, it is expected that the House of Representatives under the leadership of the Tea Party and the GOP, are to vote on some very draconian hostile measures that will place millions of low-income families at risk of becoming homeless in the very near future.

      In a time when the government is being over-run by hostile lily white right-wingers from the Tea Party and the wealthy GOP that hate people of color, immigrants, the poor, elderly, disabled, and chronically ill, the extreme right-wing is about to force a vote on a FY12 budget proposal cynically called "The Path to Prosperity," in an effort to totally shred the nations 12 major subsidized housing programs, including public housing.

      Due to years of neglect and budget cuts, as of early 2008, California housing authorities have already made proposals to dispose of or demolish over 14,000 public housing units, including the disposal of 1,615 public housing units in Oakland, and around 74 public housing town-homes in Berkeley.

      Oakland and Berkeley housing authorities plan to privatize and sell off their public housing units in a desperate move to convert the units to Project-Based Voucher Units, in an effort to pull in higher rents than what they collected under the Public Housing Program.

      But with the Tea Party and hostile GOP extremists running the House of Representatives, the public housing residents in Oakland and Berkeley, will now be placed at risk of losing their housing due to additional proposed budget cuts, including a scheme to convert all of the federal subsidized housing units, into transitional housing that has time limits.

      On April 8, the latest budget agreement deal made between the House, Senate and the White House to keep the government running, cut $149 million out of the Public Housing Operating Fund, and $220 from the Community Development Fund, both being major HUD programs.

      Shortly before on April 5, the House released it's FY12 budget resolution called the Path to Prosperity, which among other things proposes to cut federal spending well below FY08 levels in the nations federal housing programs, and would change permanent affordable housing into transitional housing, by imposing draconian time limits that would result in the displacement, and homelessness of millions of American households.

      Currently, public housing, including Section 8 and the major federal subsidized housing programs offer stability, and do not have time limits. The landlords in the programs can count on the stability of the various housing programs, and lending institutions offer loans for repairs and renovations, based on the stability of the programs. This stability appears to be coming to an end, once there are time limits placed on the tenant's housing, and the subsidized payments to landlords are threatened.

      The proposal, a scheme to make the rich even richer, attacks Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security, and among other things plans to cut $6.2 trillion from mostly domestic programs during the next decade, devastating the poor, elderly and disabled. It also offers an additional $800 billion in tax breaks, and would block the $1.5 trillion Bush era tax breaks to the rich and super rich, from ever expiring.

      The Tea Party/GOP's so-called Path to Prosperity proposal is a master plan to enrich the already wealthy, while creating a Path to Homelessness for everyone else.

      Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule@...
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