Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Berkeley Housing Authority is crushed by sequestration budget cuts

June 27, 2013

by Lynda Carson

Berkeley – It’s hard times for Berkeley’s poor in the Section 8 (Housing Choice) voucher program, and it’s been very difficult for the low-income households that have recently been pushed out of public housing and out of town. Their homes in public housing are being sold to out-of-state billionaires Stephen M. Ross and Jorge M. Perez.

Berkeley public housing tenants press conf protesting privatization 011910 by Alexander Ritchie
Berkeley public housing tenants hold a press conference Jan. 19, 2010, to protest the privatization of their homes, which they fought valiantly for years before most were forced out. Promised their rent would not rise as Section 8 rather than public housing tenants, now their Section 8 vouchers are evaporating. – Photo: Alexander Ritchie
Because of recent sequestration-generated federal budget cuts 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 only two months later are 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 becoming eligible to receive Section 8 vouchers that their applications have been suspended until further notice.

Households in the Section 8 program pay 30 percent to 40 percent of their income in rent every month, and the rest of the rent is paid to the landlord by the federally funded program.

On March 1, 2013, around $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as sequestration took effect. The cuts 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 military.

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 its programs, including the Section 8 Voucher Program, Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program and the Public Housing Program.

It’s hard times for Berkeley’s poor in the Section 8 (Housing Choice) voucher program, and it’s been very difficult for the low-income households that have recently been pushed out of public housing and out of town.

Thirty-nine of BHA’s public housing units are still occupied while the BHA is in the process of selling all 75 units of its public housing to the out-of-state billionaires who own the Related Companies of California, LLC.

As a direct result of the on-going sequestration budget cuts, BHA is no longer able to fund 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 available, and the BHA has suspended indefinitely all plans to award any more Section 8 Project-Based Vouchers in the future.

In recent days, it was reported that the BHA estimates that an additional 74 households may lose their vouchers during 2014.

Of the households that were pressured out of their public housing units and given Section 8 vouchers to help relocate elsewhere, three households moved into the jurisdiction of the Contra Costa County Housing Authority. An additional three households moved into the jurisdiction of the Richmond Housing Authority, with two other households moving into the jurisdiction of the Alameda County Housing Authority. Two other households moved into the jurisdiction of the Oakland Housing Authority.

As a direct result of the on-going sequestration budget cuts, BHA is no longer able to fund all 1,866 vouchers allocated by HUD to assist eligible families at the current benefit level.

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 six 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(c)(3) charity housing organizations result in less funding being available for the poor in privatized taxpayer subsidized housing projects.

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

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(c)(3) charity housing organizations result in less funding being available for the poor in privatized taxpayer subsidized housing projects.

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

EAH Inc.: In 2012, more than 11 executives earned well over $100,000 per year, including two people raking in over $200,000 a year. Leading the pack, Mary Murtagh, president, was paid $298,850 in 2012. Other salaries were Laura Hall, chief operating officer, $208,286; Cathy Macy, CFO, $186,709; Stephen Lucas, vice president for acquisitions, $182,991; Dianna Ingle, vice president for real estate management, $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 six other top executives pulling in over $200,000 annually, including an additional six executives paid over $155,000 that year. High salaries included Cynthia Parker’s $330,249, Rebecca Hiebasko’s $278,224, Kimberly A. McKay’ $255,665, Susan Johnson’s $235,875, D. Valentine’s $235,840, Lydia Tan’s $224,474, including severance pay on Jan. 3, 2011, of $118,244, plus an additional $106,230, Brad Wiblin’s $200,887 and Ann Silverberg’s $196,499.

Christian Church Homes: In 2011, Don Stump, president and CEO, was compensated $181,874. Cynthia Lappin, vice president for operations and COO, was paid $157,295; Winthrop Marshall, vice president for finance and CFO, $151,687; Leilani Siegfried, vice president for human services, $138,810; Geoffrey Morgan, vice president for development, $130,948; and Sheryl Stella, controller, $123,832.

Eden Housing: In 2011, Linda Mandolini, executive director, was paid $188,834; Jan Peters, chief operating officer, $187,538; and Terese Mcnamee, CFO, $175,804.

Satellite Housing: In 2011, Ryan Chao, executive director, was paid $175,321; Dori Kojima $105,179 and Miriam Benavides $100,093.

Allied Housing: During 2012, Louis D. Chicoine, executive director, was paid $156,626.

East Bay Asian Local Development Corp.: During 2011, Jeremy Liu, executive director, was paid $125,217; Peter Sopka, CFO, $125,101; Mary Hennessy, COO, $110,126; and Carlos Castallenos, director of real estate development, $103,329. Records also show that in 2009, former executive director of EBALDC, Lynette Jung Lee, earned $140,536, plus 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 total compensation of $127,330.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule@yahoo.com.

 

One thought on “Berkeley Housing Authority is crushed by sequestration budget cuts

  1. JWB

    I'm so tired of hearing these freeloaders complain about having to actually pay something for their rent. In every article you read you see the standard housing advocates talking point (the residents pay 30 to 40 percent of their income) BS this is not true!

    The truth is that these residents MAY pay up to that amount but the majority do not pay anywhere near 30 percent let alone 40. 5 percent (if that) is the real figure and the other thing they don't tell you is that 5% is welfare dollars (your tax dollar) not wages.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements
San Francisco Comcast