Tassafaronga HHs

What is affected
Housing Social/public
Land Social/public
Electricity, Sewage
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 06 October 2007
Region NA [ North America ]
Country United States
Location East Bay, Oakland, California

Affected persons

Total 375
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Low-income, public housing renters
Proposed solution

Stop eviction. Authorities provide reparation for those dispossessed, injured and killed.

Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Habitat for Humanity
Brief narrative

Oakland Housing Authority considers mass evictions at public housing sitesSource:http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/10/07/18452557.php?show_comments=1#18452758 Oakland -- Theres been a turning point in the affairs of the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), and a huge shift in the way the OHA wants to do business in the City of Oakland. As a result, thousands of low-income public housing tenants may face eviction during the next few years from their housing, and their housing units may be demolished or sold off to help raise revenue to cover the operating expenses of Oakland’s public housing program. Due to federal budget cuts in the OHA’s housing programs totaling around a $24 million combined loss during FY 07 and FY 08, the OHA will be spending more money in FY 08 than it is bringing in and does not have enough funding to repair and maintain it’s existing public housing stock. The result of this crisis is that conversations are taking place to consider the demolition or dispossession of 1,463 public housing units in Oakland, in an effort to focus on a few of the OHA’s public housing sites, while letting the rest of their public housing stock fall into a state of disrepair. The OHA may apply to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for permission to dispose of most of it’s scattered public housing sites or demolish them, in exchange for Section 8 vouchers.In a nut shell, out of 266 public housing sites in Oakland the OHA wants to focus exclusively on 22 of their on-going housing site projects throughout the city, including their five Hope VI projects and the Tassafaronga Village 87 unit public housing complex, while considering the sale, demolition, or abandonment of the rest of it’s public housing stock. Oakland housing activist James Vann believes that this shift in housing policy would be very bad for Oakland’s low-income community and all other renters who would find that rents across the city may increase as a result of losing so much of our low-rent housing. I think this is very bad for all of Oakland’s renters and the low-income community, because theres not enough low-rent housing available for all the extra Section 8 vouchers that would be needed if 1,500 public housing units went off-line in Oakland. Tenants don’t feel threatened until it’s their turn to be evicted, and often then it’s too late. The citizens of Oakland need to rise up in opposition to any proposals to sell off or demolish Oakland’s precious public housing units before their all gone, said Vann. Thousands of low-income renters in Oakland may face eviction as a result of this turn around in housing policy, and the latest casualties are already occurring at the Tassafaronga Village public housing complex where 75 famlies face eviction if they do not relocate soon from the complex before a wrecking ball demolishes their public housing units. Already wasting millions in housing funds that have been diverted away from it’s other housing programs for the Tassafaronga project, the OHA continues to spend millions to turn the Tassafaronga Village public housing complex into a privatized mixed income housing project, and low-income tenants in other public housing sites suffer as a result. As recent as September 18, OHA director Jon Gresley asked OHA’s board members to divert another $15 million in much needed housing funds away from other housing programs, to the Tassafaronga project. In addition, last June the OHA applied for 75 Section 8 vouchers for the current families facing displacement at Tassafaronga Village, and during September HUD approved the voucher request, but it does not guarentee that the 75 families will be able to find low-rent housing in the Bay Area with their vouchers. The Proposed Dispossesion Of 1,463 Public Housing Units The OHA wants to use Section 8 vouchers for all the families that will lose their housing in the 1,463 units being considered for dispossesion, and expects that it would take around 3 years to come up with around 1,500 housing vouchers for the families being placed at risk. Even with Section 8 vouchers, in a tight housing market that lacks low-rent housing, the OHA knows that many displaced families will be placed at risk of homelessness, regardless of their vouchers. The OHA has 3,308 public housing units, including 5 privately owned and managed Hope VI sites. Theres 8 sites that have anywhere from 30 to 390 units at each location, including 254 scattered sites with an average of 6 housing units per location. Most units are 35 to 40 years in age and the OHA wants to focus on 22 on-going project sites, which includes it’s Hope VI projects. The OHA wants to dispose the rest of it’s scattered sites or demolish them, but may retain 4 additional public housing sites if it can come up with the necessary funding to maintain or redevelop them. In the future, public housing redevelopment in Oakland and capital improvements to it’s public housing sites may be financed from the proceeds of selling off the OHA’s scattered public housing sites, until everything is gone except for a few public housing locations that may or may not end up being privatized. If enacted upon, these proposals would be a complete disaster for the City of Oakland and Bay Area low-income renters seeking low-rent housing in Oakland. The extreme loss of Oakland’s public housing units would reverse years of struggle to finance these housing projects that have meant so much to Oakland’s low-income population. This is just awful, says Oakland Section 8 tenant Corrine James. It’s already a total nightmare to try and use a Section 8 voucher in Oakland because so many low-income renters are competing for the same apartment units and landlords are witholding our security deposits from us until we move to a new location. The time limits imposed on us to use a voucher stresses us out, and makes you worry about finding a new place before the housing authority takes the voucher away from you. First and last month’s rent, plus security deposits being demanded by prospective landlords makes it nearly impossible for poor people to use Section 8 vouchers, and none of us have money to spare to cover the cost of a credit check, said James. Diverting Funds From Other Housing Programs The OHA’s public housing program has been operating at a deficit for a number of years, and the OHA has been looting funds from the Section 8 and Local Fund Reserves to cover some of these funding shortfalls in it’s public housing program. With federal budget cuts continuing in Section 8 funding, it has become much more difficult for the OHA to loot these funding sources any longer without causing considerable damage to their other housing programs. In addition, rental income in the OHA’s public housing program is expected to remain flat in FY 08, due to a higher vacancy rate because of unit repairs and eviction activity, and uncollected rents which are at around 3%. The vacancy rate beginning in FY 08 is 5%, and 75% of public housing tenants in Oakland are African-American, 18.8% are Asian, 5.8% are White, and 2.9% are Hispanic. The average income of Oakland’s public housing tenants is around $14,397 annually. Around 40% of households being served are elderly, or have a disabled member in the family. The OHA houses over 9% of the City of Oakland, and over 20% of it’s low-income residents. Making matters worse, is the forced transition into asset management and project based budgeting (AMP) which will require public housing sites to be self sustaining by 2012. HUD also requires housing authorities to hold a minimum 3 months in funding reserves for public housing AMP management, and the OHA plans to grab $5 million from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Project Reserves to cover the shortfall in their Public Housing Operating Reserves. The funding crisis is so bad that the OHA is also considering the sale of it’s local fund properties known as State 6 and State 12, which would generate much needed funds from a one time sales deal, but in the process would end up creating a future revenue loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, after giving up these annual sources of revenue. In addition to the above mentioned considerations, the OHA wants to change it’s income targeting requirements to one that brings in higher income tenants into it’s housing programs, in exchange for it’s low-income tenants. Currently, 96% of tenants in OHA’s housing programs earn less than 50% of the local AMI, and 81% earn less than 30% of AMI. Higher income tenants would receive less of a subsidy, which would allow the OHA to spend the newly gained revenues on other projects. The OHA expects to bring in 300 new families through it’s Section 8 voucher program during the next year, and this is where the higher income targeting may begin taking place to help fund it’s deteriorating public housing program and Hope VI projects. The result would be that the lowest-income renters of Oakland would be ignored as the OHA cherry picks higher income renters for it’s housing programs. The OHA currently needs around $45 million in funding to maintain and repair it’s 266 housing sites, and will need around $150 million in funding during the next ten years to properly maintain it’s public housing properties. The OHA did not respond to several requests in regards to this article, though they promised to get back to me. Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com

Add Your Comments Comments (Hide Comments) §EB Habitat for Humanity project displaces Tassafaronga families by Displacement Watch Monday Oct 8th, 2007 12:19 AM East Bay Habitat for Humanity project displaces Tassafaronga families East Bay Habitat for Humanity is involved in the scheme to displace 75 to 87 families from Tassafaronga Village public housing. Habitat for Humanity’s project can’t move forward until they get rid of the poor African-American families who are in their way. Click on link below to where we build... Habitat builds upon the backs of the poor in this case, and they need to be exposed for what they are doing. info [at] habitatEB.org East Bay -- Habitat for Humanity http://www.habitateb.org/where_we_build/ Habitat for Humanity East Bay Board of Directors Michael O’Kane, Board President Principal Promontory Financial Group, LLC Michael Oliver, Board Vice President Director of Government Relations & Entitlements Pacific Union Homes Adam Fiore, Board Treasurer General Counsel Apex Capital, LLC Lee Hudson, Board Secretary Controller Private Firm David Barron Attorney Cassidy, Shimko & Dawson Larry Briggs Executive Vice President (Retired) Bank of America John Byrd Manager Federal Reserve Bank Andrew Cameron Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel The PMI Group, Inc. Katie Glynn Auditor (Retired) Bob Hoffman Director Becton Dickinson Biosciences Chris Hunter Attorney Morgan Miller Blair Law Firm John Lovitt Executive Advisor to Technology Startups, Board of Directors Codefast and Appistry Senior Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations (Retired) Rational Software / IBM Jan Makin Human Resource (Retired) CA State Automobile Association Rodger Miller Director of Land Pulte Home Corporation Leonard Nielson General Contractor Catherine Pinkas Financial Advisor Sage Financial Network Gary Struthers Architect Hardison, Komatsu, Ivelich, & Tucker Ed Szaky President Matrix Real Estate Services, Inc. Matthew E. Weber Assistant Director of Operations The Olson Company Nancy Williams Principal Williams & Associates **************** Habitat for Humanity East Bay Staff 2619 Broadway Oakland, CA 94612 Office Main Phone Number 510-251-6304 General email: info [at] habitatEB.org Executive Director Janice Jensen, ext. 314 jjensen [at] habitatEB.org Executive Assistant Jen Golike, ext. 369 jgolike [at] habitateb.org Development Department Director of Development Krysta Morgenthaler, ext. 310 kmorgenthaler [at] habitatEB.org Corporate Development Officer Daryl Lee, ext. 306 dlee [at] habitatEB.org Donor Development Officer Sue Howell, ext. 307 showell [at] habitatEB.org Volunteer Programs Manager Eliza Schissel, ext. 360 eschissel [at] habitatEB.org Grants Manager Lisa Boege, ext. 308 lboege [at] habitatEB.org Development Associate, Materials & In-Kind Donations Donald Rodrigues, 510-777-9706 drodrigues [at] habitatEB.org Fund Development Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA Member) Andrew Goldsworthy, ext. 368 agoldsworthy [at] habitatEB.org Volunteer Coordinator (AmeriCorps Member) Matthew Durham, ext. 311 mdurham [at] habitatEB.org Volunteer Coordinator (AmeriCorps Member) J.P. Lor, ext. 361 jplor [at] habitatEB.org Finance & Operations Department Director of Finance & Operations Jim Obendorf, ext. 359 jobendorf [at] habitatEB.org Finance & Operations Manager Lucinda Lee, ext. 303 llee [at] habitatEB.org Accounting Manager Lara Wagner, ext. 305 lwagner [at] habitatEB.org Accounting Specialist Thalia Cambouroglou, ext. 357 tcambouroglou [at] habitatEB.org Housing Development Department Housing Development Director Jim Bergdoll, ext. 312 jbergdoll [at] habitatEB.org Senior Project Manager Hector Burgos, ext. 355 hburgos [at] habitatEB.org Assistant Project Manager Brenda Chaquette, ext. 324 bchaquette [at] habitateb.org Project Manager Doug Stimpson, ext. 363 dstimpson [at] habitatEB.org Project Specialist (AmeriCorps Member) Natalie Monk, ext. 372 nmonk [at] habitatEB.org Assistant Project Manager Hitesh Jadav, ext. 363 hjadav [at] habitatEB.org Homeowner Relations Department Director of Homeowner Relations Jen Shafer, ext. 370 jshafer [at] habitatEB.org Community Building Program Manager Tim Thomas, ext. 316 tthomas [at] habitatEB.org Homeowner Program Specialist Isabel Paez, ext. 362 ipaez [at] habitatEB.org Habitat Youth Scholarship Coordinator Catherine Chen, ext. 366 cchen [at] habitatEB.org Homeowner Relations Coordinator (AmeriCorps Member) Alejandra Guillen, ext. 367 aguillen [at] habitatEB.org Homeowner Relations Coordinator Megan Shea, ext. 365 mshea [at] habitatEB.org Homeowner Relations Coordinator (AmeriCorps Member) Gaylen Mohre, ext. 360 aguillen [at] habitatEB.org Construction Department Construction Director Hans Reuvekamp, ext. 317 hreuvekamp [at] habitatEB.org Construction Field Supervisor Sam Charles scharles [at] habitatEB.org Cost Engineer Ruairi O’Sullivan, ext. 358 rosullivan [at] habitatEB.org Construction Engineer (AmeriCorp VISTA) Aaron Preman, 510-251-6304 ext. 354 apreman [at] habitatEB.org Site Superintendents Christopher Dumbleton, cdumbleton [at] habitatEB.org Chrissy Thomas, cthomas [at] habitatEB.org Site Carpenter Juan Zavala Construction Site Assistants (AmeriCorps Members) Katie Boehm Jeremy Coerper Stephen Eales Johannes Copeland Peter High Abigail Loughrey Robert Maldonado Maggie Schouten Kwon Hong Teoh Alyssa Thunberg Shipei Wang ReStore ReStore Manager Frank Atkins, 510-777-1447 fatkins [at] habitatEB.org ReStore Personnel Pablo Maldonado, 510-777-1447 Development Associate, Materials & In-Kind Donations Donald Rodrigues, 510-777-9706 drodrigues [at] habitatEB.org Materials Procurement Assistant Bryan Kilgore, 510-777-9706
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