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Oakland nonprofit jacks up the rent as Trump proposes $6.2 billion in cuts to HUD

June 4, 2017

by Lynda Carson

Oakland – With the Trump regime pushing for a massive $6.2 billion to $6.8 billion in budget cuts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so-called nonprofit affordable housing developers see the writing on the wall and are jacking up the rents on the poor, elderly and disabled renters in their projects as fast as they can, before the budget cuts take effect. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget detailing the cuts was released May 23.

On Feb. 1, 2016, Asians4BlackLives staged a protest outside of the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. (EBALDC) office to call out their inequitable proposal for the public parcel on East 12th Street with luxury developer UrbanCore and to call for their support for 100 percent affordable housing.

This way, the renters will already be locked into a higher rent and will be forced to make up the difference when Trump’s budget cuts take effect. Or lose their housing.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the budget cuts will result in the elimination of 250,000 housing choice vouchers (Section 8 housing vouchers), which mainly help extremely low-income seniors, persons with disabilities and working families with children.

Estimates by Affordable Housing On-Line claim that the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) will lose $21,427,980 million from its Housing Choice Voucher Program and could 1,565 of 13,264 vouchers. Additionally, the Trump regime wants to cut $24.9 million from Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities. Reportedly, Oakland has 77 Section 811 funded apartments, which face a loss of $94,737 in funding.

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a proposed decrease of $465 million in funding from the FY 2017 funding level for project-based rental housing means that there will not be enough funding to cover existing contracts for all the poor, elderly and disabled renters in those apartments.

The Trump regime’s proposed $6.2 billion in budget cuts to HUD threaten the Section 8 voucher holders and project-based Section 8 units filled with the poor, disabled and elderly renters in around 153 so-called low-income affordable housing projects in Oakland with higher rents or eviction.

This is an inhumane practice and is a catastrophe in the making because most of the elderly and disabled renters are on a fixed income. They cannot afford to make up the difference in rent when the budget cuts kick in. The executives in the so-called affordable housing industry should immediately consider reducing their salaries and wages instead of ripping off the poor with excessive rent increases.

With the Trump regime pushing for a massive $6.2 billion to $6.8 billion in budget cuts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so-called nonprofit affordable housing developers see the writing on the wall and are jacking up the rents on the poor, elderly and disabled renters in their projects as fast as they can, before the budget cuts take effect.

One nonprofit’s response

In response to the budget cuts, the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. (EBALDC) sent out a “Notice of Total Contract Rent Adjustment,” dated May 24, 2017. The notice was sent to the Oakland Housing Authority and a renter at Effie’s House in Oakland. EBALDC, one of Oakland’s largest so-called affordable housing developers, is raising the rents.

The notice demands an $830 rent increase from the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) for a Section 8 tenant at Effie’s House. The tenant, who is in her 60s, on a fixed disability income, will be forced to pay a higher rent or lose her voucher if the $830 rent increase is granted and the budget cuts to HUD and the OHA take effect.

Already housing authorities are withholding Section 8 vouchers because of the threat of budget cuts. Reportedly in Houston the local housing authority took back 900 section 8 vouchers from tenants.

Knowing full well that HUD is facing $6.2 billion in budget cuts and the OHA is facing a massive budget cut of $21,427,980 to its Section 8 voucher program, EBALDC still wants an extra $830 per month rent increase from the OHA by Aug. 1, 2017, for a Section 8 renter in one of its properties.

Currently in Oakland, the annual CPI rate for rent increases effective July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, is 2.0 percent, and on July 1, 2017, the annual CPI rate for rent increases in Oakland will be 2.3 percent, but EBALDC wants a rent increase of $830 per month for an apartment that currently rents at $864 per month.

The demand for high rent increases from housing authorities locally and across the nation is happening because the so-called affordable housing developers are in a state of panic. They want to lock as many poor, elderly and disabled renters into higher rents so that the renters will be forced to make up the difference and the executives in the affordable housing industry can maintain their high salaries and wages.

The demand for high rent increases from housing authorities locally and across the nation is happening because the so-called affordable housing developers are in a state of panic.

According to the last 990 tax filing made by EBALDC for calendar year 2015, after deducting their liabilities from their assets, EBALDC had net assets or a fund balance of $23,266,360. It’s clear that EBALDC does not need to jack up the rent by an extra $830 per month on a poor Section 8 tenant or the OHA.

Despite the massive budget cuts occurring in recent years to HUD’s subsidized housing programs, according to public records, on Dec. 31, 2013, the salary of EBALDC’s executive director, Joshua Simon, was $115,385. By Dec. 31, 2015, his salary had increased to $161,471, plus $26,544 in other contributions. In 2013, Charice Fong of EBALDC made $92,769. In 2015, she was paid a whopping $148,874, plus $4,466 in other compensation.

The May 24, 2017, notice to increase the elderly tenant’s rent from $864 per month to $1,694 is signed by EBALDC Property Supervisor Israel Terriquez and was cc’d to Effie’s House Property Manager Christy Cofer, who does not have a real estate license, as California requires of most property managers.

Compensation paid to other local nonprofit housing executives

Despite the massive sequestration budget cuts that occurred in recent years to HUD’s subsidized housing programs and the current proposed $6.2 billion in budget cuts to HUD’s subsidized housing programs, the salaries and wage compensation of the executives in the local so-called affordable housing industry continue to skyrocket to obscene heights. This keeps happening at the very same time they keep demanding higher rent increases or income levels for renters and the HUD subsidized housing units they are exploiting.

Eden Housing, Inc.: For FY 2009, Executive Director Linda Mandolini was paid $162,393 in salary plus $14,368 in other compensation and worked only 28 hours per week. Chief Operating Officer Jan E. Peters was paid $136,500 plus $13,177. CFO Terese McNamee was paid $133,743 plus $6,167. Director of Development Andrea Papanastassiou was paid $131,455 plus $6,618 in other compensation.

For FY 2015, Linda Manolini pulled in a whopping $252,000 plus $19,962 in other compensation. Jan Peters was paid $210,000 plus $17,862; Anthony Ma $178,412 plus $16,233; Andre Madeira $166,154 plus $555. Three other executives were paid over $123,000.

Satellite Housing: For FY 2009, Executive Director Ryan Chao was paid $163,893 plus $6,377 in other compensation. The previous year, Executive Director Arion Chao had been paid $167,000, Director of Finance Joyce Boyd was paid $81,760, Miriam Benavides was paid $85,000, Director of Property Management Analisa Anthony was paid $87,550, Director of Housing Development Dori Kojima was paid $92,000 and Director of Residential Services Patricia Osage was paid $80,000.

According to public records for Satellite Affordable Housing Associates Property Management, during FY 2015, Susan Friesland was paid $185,694 plus $17,494. Zachary Lopez was paid $170,500 plus $12,885. Angela Cavanaugh was paid $102,184 plus $17,918.

Resources for Community Development (RCD): For FY 2009, Executive Director Dan Sawsilak was paid $112,900 in salary plus $9, and Finance Director Peter Poon was paid $69,505 plus $1,362. The previous year, Senior Project Manager Deni Adaniya was paid $90,000, Asset Manager Eric Knect was paid $73,438, Controller Kate McKean was paid $70,825, Director of Fund Development Elizabeth Eckstein was paid $68,542 and Finance Director Peter Poon was paid $65,840.

According to public records, during FY 2015, Dan Sawislak was paid $119,466 plus $38,040. Peter Poon was paid $79,957 plus $33,517. Carolyn Bookhart was paid $101,156 plus $5,103. Eric Knecht was paid $102,680 plus $9,422. Katherine McKean was paid $106,440 plus $8,846.

Despite the massive sequestration budget cuts that occurred in recent years to HUD’s subsidized housing programs and the current proposed $6.2 billion in budget cuts to HUD’s subsidized housing programs, the salaries and wage compensation of the executives in the local so-called affordable housing industry continue to skyrocket to obscene heights.

Affordable Housing Associates (AHA), now known as Satellite Affordable Housing Associates: For FY 2015, Susan Friesland was paid $185,694 plus $17,494. Miriam Benavides was paid $125,419 plus $17,494. Eve Stewart was paid $130,761. Thomas Early was paid $163,291, plus $33,421. Jeff Hodos was paid $154,275, plus $7,240.

EAH Inc. (EAH Housing), Marin County: For FY 2015, Mary Murtagh pulled in a whopping $316,655, plus $23,840 in other compensation. Laura Hall was paid $255,972, plus $24,306. Cathy Macy was paid $224,382, plus $17,087. Diana Ingle was paid $203, 294, plus $17,532. Matthew Steinle was paid $199,728, plus $18,294. Kevin Carney was paid $167,924, plus $13,051.

Bridge Housing, San Francisco: For FY 2015, Cynthia Parker was paid $660,454 plus $87,909. Kimberly McKay was paid $292,611 plus $80,881. Susan Johnson was paid $289,244 plus $51,508. Rebecca Hlebasko was paid $$287,188 plus $93,545. D. Valentine was paid $269,946 plus $87,507. Ann Silverberg was paid $262,210 plus $27,412. Brad Wilbin was paid $283,293 plus $96,148. Elizabeth Van Benschoten was paid $230,579 plus $28,371. Corrine Morrison was paid $220,000 plus $54,620. James Valva was paid $192,121 plus $37,622. Sarah Jelley was paid $161,238 plus $49,539. Susan Neufeld was paid $154,039 plus $35,532.

Meanwhile, EBALDC which had a whopping fund balance of $23,266,360 in 2015, is demanding an $830 per month rent increase from the Oakland Housing Authority for a poor, elderly, disabled Section 8 tenant at Effie’s House, by Aug. 1, 2017. This occurs just as the Trump regime is proposing a $6.2 billion budget cut to HUD and massive budget cuts to the Oakland Housing Authority.

Indeed, despite the budget cuts occurring, it’s business as usual for the so-called affordable housing industry. Nothing short of a complete and total rebellion by the tenants in HUD’s subsidized housing programs can stop the industry from exploiting the tenants and HUD’s subsidized housing programs.

As for HUD Secretary Ben Carson, he supports the massive $6.2 billion in budget cuts to HUD being proposed by the Trump regime, and has been heard from Cloud 9 recently claiming that poverty is a state of mind.

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

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