More news from the front. The council last week agreed to use Burbank’s new homelessness monies to help the city’s successful Section 8 awardees get an apartment in Burbank.
So what’s wrong with this? Lots.
The voters approved Measure H to help the actual homeless. Measure H is not for those who might somehow be homeless if they can’t get an apartment in town. It’s for the people who are already on the streets right now.
That’s what everyone voted for. Helping homeless people. That was Measure H.
Does the City of Burbank know the difference here? Unless there’s a big firewall set up to protect these homelessness funds, the potential for abuse now sees it going to help subsidize the Burbank Housing Authority’s current programs instead. And (in theory) our local landlords.
Burbank will accept $77,000 from Los Angeles County’s housing authority to be used for the city’s Homelessness Incentive program.
Although it won’t be the full amount of money Burbank will generate through Measure H this fiscal year, the city will get a small amount back to help with its homeless programs.
The City Council voted 4-0 on April 17 to accept $77,000 from Los Angeles County’s housing authority. The funds will be used for Burbank’s Homelessness Incentive program, specifically to encourage landlords to participate in the Section 8 program, said Marcos Gonzalez, grants coordinator for the city.
How does any of the following encourage landlords to take Section 8? And again, helping out confirmed Section 8 applicants — who already just got their housing grants — is NOT what Measure H is about at all.
Like we said, it’s about helping homeless people on the streets; not bolstering the BHA’s existing Section 8 grant program to help make it easier to find places for Section 8 awardees. And if that would even work to begin with. (It clearly won’t — at best it will just put money in local landlord pockets.)
Gonzalez said $70,000 of the amount the city receives will go toward incentives, which will include financial assistance for move-in costs and transportation to visit units, as well as tenant assistance with credit checks and rental application fees.
The funds will also be used for assistance with purchasing furniture and major appliances, one month’s rent payment to hold a vacant unit and damage mitigation payments to landlords to help fix damages caused by tenants, Gonzalez said.
The other $7,000 that the city will receive will go toward administrative fees.
“As you can see, a few of these uses of these funds are not just landlord incentives, but also can benefit someone who has a housing voucher,” he said. “These are valuable tools to house our homeless in Burbank.”
Those someones already HAVE a housing voucher. But that’s not for whom these new Measure H funds are mandated. Worse for Burbank, how many of their new Section 8 awardees are currently homeless?
We mean without a place to live. And over the last two or three years or so?
Very, very few we believe; which means that Burbank is clearly abusing the voter intent of these new Measure H homelessness monies. They’re not for the already lucky Section 8 grantees — who most likely have or had a place to stay physically while their application was being processed by the city. They’re for the actual homeless.
Gonzalez added that every landlord in the city, which includes those who do and do not participate in Section 8, as well as homeless-service providers in Burbank, will be notified about the program and funding available.
The city was able to receive some Measure H funds by applying for a request for proposal from the county’s housing authority in August 2017.
Although Burbank is getting some funding from the county, it is far from the estimated $6 million the city is expected to generate this fiscal year through a quarter-cent sales tax established by Measure H, which was approved by Los Angeles County voters in March 2017 to address homelessness.
And what will they do with all of that new money when it comes in? They’re supposed to use it for homeless shelters and such, not more Section 8 supplementals.
Typical Burbank here. The city’s trying to use these much-needed homeless funds to help juice their own current programs. In other words, none of this $70,000 will help the local street homeless.
Burbank already has a shady history with its Section 8 program. Last year they got nailed by HUD for illegally tossing out successful awardees when their numbers came up by then arbitrarily demanding the financial information of non-related roommates and other non-applicant parties.
Hundreds and hundreds of successful applicants who had waited for years to get to the top of the list all immediately lost their grants because of this terrifically unfair violation of the rules. They either couldn’t get the records or made too much “household” money for a household that wasn’t theirs.
Several years earlier Burbank also had to admit to stealing over a million dollars from their Section 8 fund to use for data processing needs in other departments. They publicly fessed up about this “borrowing” right before the state auditors came in. And don’t get us started again about how they deliberately tossed homeless people off of their waiting list by performing a surprise/secret “purge” of names a few years ago without telling anybody.
If your address had changed, or — being homeless– you didn’t have one, or lost what you’d had, you were automatically tossed off the Section 8 waiting list in Burbank.
And with no appeals rights.