Bad landlords attract bad tenants

Researchers initially analyzed police calls for service to determine whether residents in Section 8 housing in Middletown, Ohio, required a disproportionate amount of police resources.

A study in Middletown, Ohio, found more than half of the calls for police service occurred from just 10 percent of rental properties.

Kathleen Gallagher, a doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati, examined calls for police service from apartment complexes, rental units, extended-stay hotels/motels and shopping centers in several Ohio communities to identify geographic areas most in need of assistance.

“Several owners had high numbers of properties with Section 8 tenants and with crime, but we found that these owners also had high crime properties without Section 8 tenants,” Gallagher said in a statement.

“This suggested that the property owners themselves might have created or allowed environments where offenders felt comfortable committing crime.”

In other words, problem landlords seemed to be the root of the problem, not whether residents were using Section 8 housing vouchers or not, Gallagher said.

Gallagher presented the research at the American Society of Criminology meeting in Washington.


Landlords, not tenants key to police calls

Dear LandLords, No You Cannot Evict, Signed The U.S. Supreme Court

I can completely understand a landlord wanting to raise the rent.

Especially when his cost of operation goes up.

However, when you cannot just evict tenants so that you can replace them with tenants willing to pay more.

Or so says the United States Supreme Court.

How did this issue with Section 8 Landlords reach the U.S. Supreme Court?

Supreme Court of the United States Seal

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Well,  back in 2005, the owners of Park Village Apartments, at 3761 Park Boulevard Way in Oakland California wanted to evict Section 8 tenants after their contract with HUD expired.

Did the tenants roll over and take this?
They went the American way and sued.

What did the Housing Authority have to say about the landlords decision?

Apparently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development saw nothing wrong with it. In fact, they approved the owners’ request in 2008 and the owners then promptly rejected 15 tenants’ rental assistance agreements and filed eviction notices.

And the issue made it all the way to the USSC.

Yep, these 15 low-income, elderly citizens made it all the way to the Supreme Court to state their case…and won!

Lower courts had agreed with them but the battle raged on for the receivers of federal housing aid.

The evictions were put on hold by U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong in 2010 and the case was settled in favor of the tenants just this month of November 2011, almost 2 years later.

So, what is the big deal?

The big deal is for every one, now just tenants of Section 8.

A law on the books since 2000 states that you cannot be evicted as long as you keep paying your rent and give the landlord no other cause to evict you.

And, just like these tenants, you can take that to court!

Galveston TX Section 8 Housing List Opening

Many families have yet to recover from the disaster that was Hurricane Ike back in 2008.


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So it comes as a relief to the nearly 1000 families that they will continue to receive assistance when the Disaster Housing Program (DHAP) was set to expire in January 2012.

In fact, their entire futures will be a tad more settled as the DHAP will transition to the Housing Choice Voucher.

Residents have the choice to switch to the housing voucher program or to apply for a public housing space when a proposed mixed-income development is completed

While the program is primarily for those families in the Disaster Housing Assistance Program, other  needy families can apply for Section 8 rental assistance when the waiting list for the program opens this week.

The Galveston Housing Authority manages more than 1,000 families in the Section 8 program, and the transition will add another 970 families into the federal program overseen by the housing authority.

The waiting list will open today at 7 am through Friday at 7 pm.

Families can apply online at or visit the Island Community Center, 4700 Broadway.

Applicants must have birth dates and Social Security information for each member of the household.


Galveston Daily News

Florida Housing Authorities are bracing themselves for federal budget cuts

Housing authority executives expect less money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development as Congress slashes spending. The department also may wipe out reserves built up for long-term maintenance and potential budget shortfalls.

Loss of reserves coupled with cuts to operating and capital-improvement funds mean that South Florida’s aging public-housing developments are likely to fall into further disrepair.

More than $70 million is budgeted annually for capital improvements to public housing in Florida, according to the Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

The Boca Raton Housing Authority planned to use $180,000 of reserves to start kitchen and bathroom renovations in the 95-unit Dixie Manor public-housing development, but those plans likely will be canceled if HUD reclaims the money.

To prepare for funding cuts, the Delray Beach Housing Authority cut workers’ hours and moved into less-expensive office space.


Public housing officials brace for funding cuts

Hampton is demolishing Harbor Square

The city has agreed to buy the troubled downtown Harbor Square apartment complex in a deal that will allow it to demolish the apartments in a matter of months. Hampton will then pursue a plan to build a new Circuit Court on the site.

Due diligence exercise, which the city has compared to a homebuyer’s report, found conditions “much worse than we imagined.” About 100 units in the 368-unit complex are occupied by Section 8 tenants. During the last three or four months, he said, about a third of these units failed inspections.

After inspections of the property, the city lowered its offer, agreeing to assume a $12.6 million Virginia Housing Development Authority loan and to cover some outstanding bills. Bunting said the current owner, Olde Town Associates LLC, will receive no income or profit from the sale.

The property will be purchased using $6 million in reserve from a downtown development that never got off the ground, another $6 million transferred by removing a parking garage from the city’s plans for a new Circuit Court, $1.2 from the city’s strategic property acquisition account and $200,000 from bond revenue.

The city’s original offer envisioned the Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority purchasing the property and running the complex for about four years. That’s because the VHDA loan provisions imposed a penalty for payoff before 2015.

The city and its housing authority negotiated with the VHDA to obtain permission to pay off the note early without penalty and allow the apartments to be demolished. condemnation experts who advised them said the land price and the expense to relocate residents could exceed the $13.4 million cost the city would incur to purchase and raze the property.

The housing authority will work with residents to help them locate new apartments, including places that accept Section 8 vouchers.

Harbor Square residents will be allowed to stay in the complex until their leases expire if they wish, but residents who want to leave sooner could be released from those leases. Condemnation experts who advised them said the land price and the expense to relocate residents could exceed the $13.4 million cost the city would incur to purchase and raze the property.

The city’s downtown master plan, developed with input from more than 300 people, calls for streets to be extended through that area. It also cites a need in downtown for higher-value housing and public spaces to reinforce a connection between and among downtown, the waterfront and in-town neighborhoods.


Quick demolition of Harbor Square in sight as Hampton agrees on deal

Section 8 bias: When poverty moves in next door

I found this personal narrative of the feelings of one “christian” community when a Section 8 family moves into their neighborhood interesting.

Family in tall grass

Image by Jackal of all trades via Flickr

On one hand, she states:

Both of my neighbors are active stewards of our block club, and one of its functions is delivering a housewarming gift of a plant or flowers to welcome new residents and send an early message of community. No gift was delivered this time, or even discussed.

This type of bias is the total anthesis of a  “stoic, civic-minded, churchgoing woman”. My initial thought was I guessed they missed church the day the preacher preacehed on “judge not least you be judged” and the “good samaritan”.

And I am glad that at least this initial family seems to be representing what I call the quiet face of Section 8. The face that is not hanging out on the street or doing drugs. Who are attempting to have a decent home for their children while the bounce back from a personal economic downturn for which their is no bailout.

So far the family on the corner has done nothing to deserve our fear. They are about the most low-key household on the block, not terribly outgoing but no trouble either. The renters have a small dog they let escape from the yard too often, but they also have children who skateboard up and down the street alongside the kids I know and like.

And I give this author all due respect for examing her own motivation and knee jerk reaction to knowing that a section 8 family has just moved on.

Although, it was never clearly understood how they knew that this family was on section 8 and if the reaction would have been the same if it was an ordinary renter who is still not a property owner.

All in all, I highly recommend the full read of  A Section 8 debate: When poverty moves in. Lots of historical rhetoric and reference that will give you pause for thought.

Housing Authority will stop paying rent for 14 tenants

The Maine State Housing Authority will stop paying rent for 14 tenants living in Section 8 apartments owned by longtime local landlord Madeline Pratt based on recent inspections that turned up safety violations in a number of Pratt’s 12 buildings in Norway and Paris.

The 90-year-old owns 12 apartment buildings with a total of 33 units in Norway and Paris.

Pratt said she began buying housing units with a house on Alpine Street shortly after World War II. Back then, she ran rooming houses, making sure they were kept clean and even washing the bedding of workers from the bustling factories in town.

Several decades later, she went to Augusta to lobby to bring Section 8 housing to Norway, she said.

“If it hadn’t been for me, there wouldn’t be any Section 8 in town,” she said.

Image by fixedgear via Flickr

Pratt defended the state of her buildings, many 19th-century, wood-frame homes, saying people with Section 8 vouchers generally should not be in new construction because they do not clean their homes.

“I’ll tell you right now, the people we’re dealing with today should not be in new construction,” she said. “You should see these houses when they move out.” She cited trash, dirty “flushes” and other unsanitary conditions brought on by tenants.

“It’s not fair; there’s not much we can do about it,” she said.

Pratt said she has poured thousands of dollars into the Lynn Street apartment building, updating things such as smoke detectors and the thickness of walls to meet fire codes. The Lynn Street building is on the market, she said.

Kay Hawkins, the Section 8 inspector in Norway and Paris, was fired last month when reports surfaced about safety violations in apartment buildings that take Section 8 housing vouchers that she inspected. Norway Town Manager David Holt said Friday that building inspector Joelle Corey-Whitman will continue to inspect apartment buildings in town and to take action when necessary.

The state’s stoppage of rental payments began with four tenants on Nov. 1. The rest will be staggered over the next two months based on when re-inspections occur, housing officials said. More tenants could be affected as inspections continue to turn up violations.

The tenants are given 30-day notices that the subsidy payment will be stopped on a particular date. They can transfer the subsidy to a new apartment.

Re-inspections by the state began after a recent investigation by the Norway-based Advertiser Democrat into allegations of locked secondary exits and lack of smoke detectors following a fire last spring in one of Pratt’s buildings that left 11 people homeless. The newspaper report prompted an emergency meeting of state and local officials, tenants, landlords and other concerned residents on Nov. 4. The meeting focused on problems in Section 8 apartments and the roles Maine State Housing and Avesta, the state’s local agent, played in the situation.


State stops Section 8 rent payments on some Norway apartments for safety violations

96 NY Apartments are getting a spruce up

Related Affordable says that it is investing $1.1 million to renovate its 96 apartments at the John Crawaford Apartments on Liberty Street in Monticello; $1.1 million for 50 units at Machackemach Village Apartments on Jersey Avenue in Port Jervis; and $800,000 for 50 units at the Burt Farms II Apartments on Forester Avenue in Warwick.

Port Jervis, New York

Image by dougtone via Flickr

The money has already been earmarked and the renovations are expected to be complete August 2012. Each individual apartments renovation is expected to take no more than a single day so no residents will be uprooted during the process.

Renovations include improvements to the bathroom and kitchen cabinets, new appliances, and energy-efficient lighting.

As far as the common areas, they will be getting general repairs as well. The windows are being replaced in Warwick. Port Jervis is having its roof and siding replaced. And Monticello is having the community room renovated.

The complexes are full and have waiting lists.


3 Section 8 complexes slated for renovations

Thousands stand in line for Housing Application in Guam

The Making of Civic Life: Tiong Bahru, Singapo...
Image by British Council Singapore via Flickr

If you arrived at the GHURA office at 5 am on November 7, 2011, you would have already have found hundreds in line who had been there all night waiting for the doors to open at 8 am.

And that was just to pick up an application.

The line yesterday morning at one point stretched for blocks from GHURA to Pale Kieran Drive near the Saint Fidelis Franciscan Friary.

The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority had printed out 5,000 applications in anticipation of the crush but, chances are, they vastly exceeded that amount.

The last time the list was opened was five years ago.

And applicants had to stand in another line to turn the application in.

This truly became a city effort as Vice Mayor Robert Hofmann cleaned up trash left by applicants around the GHURA grounds yesterday, while other volunteers and mayor’s office employees directed the backed-up traffic.

The office started getting calls as early as 3 a.m. from residents who complained about blocked driveways, and unruly behavior, and, in some instances, the authorities had to intervene.

The crowded roadways also created delays for school buses at both C.L. Taitano Elementary and Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School.

All of this to simply add your name to a waiting list.

NY City Cracking down on HUD fraud

Looking northeast at Ingersoll Houses of NYCHA...
Image via Wikipedia

Fail to disclose income.

Kids moved out but you haven’t disclosed it?

You could be a target of the NYHA DOI (New York Housing Authority Department of Investigations).

A Section 8 (subsidized housing) tenant who lived in a two-family house was charged on Friday with defrauding the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) by approximately $96,674 by concealing the fact that she didn’t live in an apartment within a two-family home, but owned the home itself.

In effect,  she was collecting rent from the government for occupying her own house. She also collected rent from a tenant who lived in the downstairs apartment.

Ms. Desince is one of 38 people who have been charged as a result of DOI housing fraud investigations involving NYCHA properties since the beginning of January 2011.

Janice McMillan, 56, of Brooklyn, was arrested in May and charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government to the tune of $59,000.

McMillan pleaded guilty to living in NYCHA project illegally after the tenant of record moved to Georgia and failed to report that she was employed by the city Human Resources Administration. She was ordered to pay full restitution and sentenced to 60 days of home confinement and five years of supervised release.