Good news. At last!
Dr. Gordon tried to pin staff down about this problem a couple of years ago — about the basic unfairness of the City of Burbank’s “household” policy when it came to individual Section 8 applications — and the Feds finally forced Burbank to make a change.
From tomorrow night’s council agenda:
Housing authorities are also required to adopt a written Administrative Plan that establishes local policies and procedures for administering the Program in accordance with HUD regulations and requirements. Staff utilizes the Administrative Plan to ensure all applicants and participants of the Program are treated in a fair and equitable manner. HUD also allows Administrative Plans to include local policies on matters for which the BHA has discretion, and any updates to it must be adopted by the housing authority board. The current Administrative Plan was last updated by the BHA Board in 2017 and is on file in the Housing Authority office, and posted on the City’s website.
The long-standing and overarching goal of the BHA Board (as stated in the Administrative Plan) has been to serve the most needy and vulnerable households in the community; such as those households that pay a disproportionate share of their income on rent. Therefore, it had been the practice of the BHA to review the eligibility of the entire household for the Program (current living situation or circumstance). To further target the most needy and vulnerable households in the community, the BHA Board approved local preferences for disabled, veteran, and homeless
That’s the intro about the basic topic at hand. Here’s the good part:
Staff is proposing updates to the Administrative Plan for the consideration by the BHA Board in response to correspondence received last November 2017 from the local HUD office in Los Angeles. The HUD letter informed staff that the policy of reviewing the eligibility of the entire household for the Program, and current living situation, was not consistent with HUD’s definition of “Family.” Furthermore, HUD advised the BHA to re-evaluate local preferences as the mechanism to meet Burbank’s goal and objectives. Therefore, the proposed updates change the manner in which applications are reviewed for eligibility. Staff would no longer review the eligibility of the entire household (current living situation or circumstance), and instead review the eligibility of only the person or persons that have applied for the Section 8 Program as described below.
The proposed changes do not impact the implementation of the Program, and staff believes that coupled with the proposed changes to preferences, the BHA Board goal of serving the most needy and vulnerable households will continue to be achieved.
We’ve written several times over the years about this incredible inequity on the City’s part.
What staff was doing was FORCING a Section 8 applicant to submit the financial records of everyone they happened to be living with at the time of the processing, even if those individuals had nothing to do with the application or the individual applicant. Then they’d instantly disqualify the applicant based upon them having too much “household” income (!)
What this meant was that if you applied for Section 8 in Burbank and happened to be sleeping on someone’s couch somewhere with people who were basically strangers to you in life — and, they had any kind of income — you were out of luck on your Burbank rental subsidy.
The basic unfairness of this policy struck Dr. Gordon enough for him to make a really big deal about it at the last Administrative Plan discussion. Naturally, staff initially tried to play dumb about his question. When they couldn’t get away with this evasion after him constantly pressing them on it, they then claimed that “households” were what Section 8 was all about. The rest of the council members of course could have cared less about the concern.
God bless the federal government on this one. Now if they’d only go after Burbank for its completely arbitrary Section 8 selection process. Gordon again tried to pin staff down about exactly who gets Section 8 in Burbank and what the selection criteria is comprised of. He got no straight answer for his efforts but that some scrambler machine comes up with the picks.**
No other local city does it this way. Staff lies about that one, too.
They call it a “randomizer.”
Under their own wacky selection criteria “filters” as stated publicly, no one in Burbank gets Section 8 unless they’re an elderly disabled veteran with kids who also happens to be homeless. And, already living in Burbank.
Since of course this could NOT be the case, who then gets it? What’s weighted more, and what isn’t?
Got any answers for that one, you city council members? Got any questions for staff about it?
Gordon once did.