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News Update: Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts

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  • Lynda Carson
    News Update: Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts Lynda Carson may be reached at: tenantsrule@yahoo.com See link below with the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2013
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      News Update: Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts

      Lynda Carson may be reached at: tenantsrule@...


      See link below with the Berkeley Daily Planet, plus the article below
      in todays Daily Californian newspaper, and the original breaking story
      by Lynda Carson published with Indy Bay News Wire...


      (Berkeley Daily Planet - Need To Read)
      Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts

      http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2013-05-31

      http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2013-05-31/article/41147?headline=Need-to-Read--

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      Published on Indy Bay News Wire...

      http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/06/09/18738201.php


      [[[The Berkeley Housing Authority recently took back vouchers from 14
      Section 8 voucher holders because of the massive budget cuts taking
      place known as sequestration! The agency also gave notice to
      approximately 200 additional households in the final stages of being
      eligible to receive Section 8 vouchers, that their application for the
      vouchers have been suspended until further notice!]]]


      Berkeley Housing Authority is hit by sequestration budget cuts

      By Lynda Carson - June 9, 2013

      Berkeley - It's hard times for Berkeley's poor in the Section 8
      voucher program (Housing Choice Voucher Program), and it's been very
      difficult for the low-income households that have recently moved out
      of town due to being pressured out of their public housing units.
      Public housing units that are being sold to some out of state
      billionaires (Stephen M. Ross and Jorge M. Perez).

      Because of recent federal budget cuts (sequestration) affecting our
      nation's housing assistance programs for the poor, the Berkeley
      Housing Authority (BHA) recently informed 14 households that their
      Section 8 vouchers have been suspended until further notice. The
      households received the vouchers from the BHA on April 12, 2013, and
      have recently been notified that the BHA will not honor a "Request for
      Tenancy Approval" for the housing of their choice.

      The BHA has also given notice to approximately 200 additional
      households in the final stages of being eligible to receive Section 8
      vouchers, that their application for the vouchers have been suspended
      until further notice.

      Households in the Section 8 program pay 30% to 40% of their income in
      rent every month, and the rest of the rent is payed to the landlord by
      the program.

      On March 1, 2013, around $85 billion in federal budget cuts took
      effect known as sequestration that are part of a 10 year plan of
      catastrophic funding reductions to our nation's discretionary domestic
      programs including the Department of Housing and Urban Development
      (HUD), and the pentagon/military budgets.

      The impact of sequestration on the BHA has resulted in the loss of
      more than $1.7 million in annual funding for rental subsidy payments.
      The BHA has lost an additional $386,000 in administrative fees to
      operate it's programs including the Section 8 Voucher Program, Section
      8 Project-Based Voucher Program, and the Public Housing Program.

      The BHA's public housing program still has 39 occupied public housing
      units (RHCP/LIPH) while the BHA is still in the transition process of
      selling it's 75 public housing units to some out of state billionaires
      that own the Related Companies of California, LLC.

      In total. As a direct result of the on-going sequestration budget
      cuts, it means that the BHA is no longer able to continue utilizing
      all 1,866 vouchers allocated by HUD to assist eligible families at the
      current benefit level. Vouchers have been taken back from 14
      households in the Section 8 voucher program in Berkeley. Additionally,
      vouchers for 200 other households are no longer currently available,
      and the BHA has suspended indefinitely, all plans to award any more
      Section 8 Project-Based Vouchers in the future.

      It's very difficult times for the poor in Berkeley, and for some of
      the households that were pressured out of their public housing units
      and given a Section 8 voucher to help relocate elsewhere, 3 households
      moved into the jurisdiction of the Contra Costa County Housing
      Authority. An additional 3 households moved into the jurisdiction of
      the Richmond Housing Authority, with 2 other households moving into
      the jurisdiction of the Alameda County Housing Authority, and 2 other
      households moved into the jurisdiction of the Oakland Housing
      Authority.

      Indeed, in a report released on May 22, from a survey conducted by the
      Public Housing Authorities Directors Association involving 300 housing
      agencies from 41 states, the situation looks very grim for the poor.
      At least 51 agencies reported that they will terminate vouchers during
      the next 6 months, and an additional 75 agencies have reported that
      the budget cuts known as sequestration will result in higher rents for
      voucher holders throughout their jurisdictions.

      In addition to all the budget cuts affecting the poor in the nation's
      federal housing programs, high salaries and wage compensation being
      given to some of the overpaid top executives in our local nonprofit,
      501 c3 charity housing organizations, result in less funding being
      available for the poor in privatized tax payer subsidized housing
      projects.

      Recently a Section 8 tenant in a privatized tax payer subsidized
      housing project in Oakland, reported that her rent was increased by
      around $100 dollars after the May 1, sequestration budget cuts went
      into effect. Wanting to remain anonymous because the building manager
      from the non profit housing organization told her not to tell anyone
      of her rent increase, she is very worried that the rent increase will
      have to come out of her pocket. She is so poor, that she receives food
      stamps to survive on, and it concerned her that the rent increase may
      be used to subsidize the wages of some overpaid executives running the
      subsidized housing project she resides in.

      See the latest in salaries and wage compensation for some of the top
      executives in some local nonprofit housing organizations, according to
      some of the latest 990 tax forms filed with the federal government.

      EAH Inc.; In 2012, more than 11 executives at EAH Inc., earned well
      over $100,000 per year, including 2 people raking in well over
      $200,000 a year. Leading the pack, Mary Murtagh, President, was paid
      $298,850 in 2012. Laura Hall, Chief Operating Officer, was paid
      $208,286. Cathy Macy, CFO, was paid $186,709. Stephen Lucas, VP
      Acquisitions, was paid $182,991. Dianna Ingle, VP Re MGMT, was paid
      $163,324.

      Affordable Housing Associates; In 2012, Susan Friedland, Executive
      Director, was paid $152,966.

      Bridge Housing; In 2011, the top executive at Bridge Housing took in
      well over $300,000 that year, with 6 other top executives pulling in
      well over $200,000 annually, including an additional 6 other top
      executives raking in well over $155,000 that year. Leading the pack,
      Cynthia Parker took in $330,249 in compensation during 2011. Rebecca
      Hiebasko was paid $278,224. Kimberly A McKay was paid $255,665. Susan
      Johnson was paid $235,875. D Valentine was paid $235.840. Lydia Tan's
      compensation was listed at $224,474 for 2011 (Severance pay on
      1/3/2011, of $118,244, and distribution of an additional $106,230).
      Brad Wiblin was paid $200,887. Ann Silverberg was paid $196,499.

      Christian Church Homes: In 2011, Don Stump, President/CEO, was
      compensated $181,874. Cynthia Lappin, VP Operations & COO, was paid
      $157,295. Winthrop Marshall, VP Finance & CFO, was paid $151,687.
      Leilani Siegfried, VP Human Services, was paid $138,810. Geoffrey
      Morgan, VP Development, was paid $130,948. Sheryl Stella, Controller,
      was paid $123,832.

      Eden Housing; In 2011, Linda Mandolini, Executive Director, was paid
      $188,834. Jan Peters, Chief Operating Officer, was paid $187,538.
      Terese Mcnamee, CFO, was paid $175,804.

      Satellite Housing; In 2011, Ryan Chao, Executive Director, Satellite
      Housing was paid $175,321. Dori Kojima, was paid $105,179. Miriam
      Benavides was paid $100,093.

      Allied Housing; During 2012, Louis D. Chicoine, Executive Director,
      was paid $156,626.

      East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation; During 2011, Jeremy Liu,
      Executive Director, was paid $125,217. Peter Sopka, CFO, was paid
      $125,101. Mary Hennessy, COO, was paid $110,126. Carlos Castallenos,
      Director of Real Estate Development, was paid $103,329. Records also
      show that in 2009, former Executive Director of EBALDC, Lynette Jung
      Lee, earned as much $140,536 that year, including an additional $5,942
      in other compensation. Joshua Simon is the current Executive Director,
      of EBALDC.

      Resources for Community Development; In 2011, Dan Sawislak, Executive
      Director, received a total compensation of $127,330.

      Lynda Carson may be reached at; tenantsrule@...

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      (Daily Californian Newspaper)
      Berkeley Housing Authority cuts vouchers due to sequestration

      BY MARY ZHOU | STAFF - Monday June 10, 2013

      http://tinyurl.com/l494v6l

      Due to March’s federal budget cuts, known as the sequestration,
      Berkeley Housing Authority has cut 14 subsidized housing vouchers from
      low-income individuals while also suspending about 200 households in
      the final stages of applications.

      On March 1, more than $85 billion in federal sequester cuts took
      effect, diminishing spending across many departments, including the
      U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as its
      Section 8 voucher program, which supports local public housing
      agencies. Consequently, Berkeley Housing Authority is expecting an
      annual loss of about $1.7 million.

      The Section 8 voucher program helps low-income families, the elderly
      and the disabled find affordable housing. Those who receive these
      vouchers pay rent amounts between 30 and 40 percent of their income.
      Berkeley Housing Authority currently gives rental assistance to 1,776
      households in Berkeley and estimates that it will have to cut 76
      households beginning in 2014.

      According to Tia Ingram, executive director of Berkeley Housing
      Authority, some of the families facing cuts expressed minor angst, but
      most of them knew of the sequester beforehand.

      “The only way to remain sane is to believe that these changes are
      temporary,” Ingram said. “I believe the S8 program (and housing
      authorities) will survive. It’s just a question of what the program
      will look like going forward.”

      In the meantime, local nonprofit organizations may need to step in to
      manage the increasing demand for affordable housing and help residents
      who are facing eviction.

      “We are just coming up with strategies,” said Janny Castillo,
      community builder at Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, an
      organization that provides services to the homeless in Berkeley. “One
      of the things is collaboration between organizations so that we all
      know what we are doing.”

      Castillo and others say the responsibility to fix these issues lies
      with the city.
      “It is individually up to each city to prepare for the cuts,” said
      Lynda Carson, a writer for the Indybay who has previously covered the
      sequestration. “They’ve been well aware of the cuts in progress for a
      long time.”

      According to Eleanor Walden, a former member of the Berkeley Rent
      Stabilization Board, Berkeley Housing Authority has been slow in
      responding to community frustration over previous budget cuts.

      “There have been a lot of citizen meetings about it,” Walden said.
      “There’s that path between trying to do something, reaching a stone
      wall and then becoming incredibly depressed and hopeless.”

      According to a report in May by the California Association of Housing
      Authorities, California administers 350,000 vouchers, the largest
      number of Section 8 vouchers in the country.

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