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In contrast to the hoopla and razzle dazzle of Mayor Ed Lee and company to hoodwink the public into believing that privatizing public housing is a good thing, an Oct. 7 letter from Congresswoman Maxine Waters to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calls for more protections for public housing and public housing tenants being threatened by the RAD privatization program.
Public housing is home to over 1.2 million families across the nation, mostly the elderly, disabled and low-income women with children. The Bay Area is home to thousands of them. In an effort to save public housing in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and nationwide, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wrote a letter to President Obama on Dec. 10 condemning the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD.
Because the Democrats joined the Republicans in allowing the sequestration budget cuts to continue in the latest political deal known as a “continuing resolution” that ended the government shutdown on Oct. 16, it appears to be a very grim situation for Section 8 voucher holders in cities all across the nation. Housing officials claim that 140,000 voucher holders are at risk of losing their vouchers because of the sequestration budget cuts.
Massive spending cuts to the nation’s federal housing programs are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2013, threatening thousands of low-income families in Oakland and other Bay Area cities with higher rent than they can pay. Additionally, several hundred thousand or more low-income families all across the nation could lose their vouchers.
The plan to sell off Berkeley’s 75 public housing units is harmful to Berkeley’s poor, elderly and disabled population that fail to qualify for the Section 8 program or meet the minimum income requirements to reside in so-called affordable housing units owned and operated by local nonprofit housing developers.