Architecture for Humanity - SF
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Tommi Mecca & Sara Shortt Update on the Threats to Section 8

Here's an urgent message from my co-worker, Sara Shortt, who is working to save Section 8. What's happening right now is that the feds have lowered the payment standard so that for example, with a $1600 one-bedroom, HUD will only pay $1300 for it now. The tenant HAS TO MAKE UP THE $300 DIFFERENCE. Every tenant with a voucher in SF (over 7,300 vouchers!) will get a rent increase this year, anywhere from about $100-400/mo. People on Section 8 canNOT afford these increases. If landlords do not agree to lower the rent down to the new standard or the tenant does not find another place to live, they will end up on the streets or displaced from the city. At this point, thanks to Sara's efforts, Park Merced has agreed to lower the rents for its 160 or so tenants on vouchers. The Board of Supes is holding a hearing to look into this matter...below is info from Sara...

Help save SF's Section 8 Housing!

*We need testimony from tenants and advocates at Monday's Board ofsupervisors Section 8 hearing at 1pm at City Hall. Please attend if you canand encourage others as well. Talking points are below. If you can notattend, please email, write or call your supervisors to let them hear yourthoughts on the issue.
*Listen to KPFA story on Section 8 in SF at :http://www.kpfa.org/archives/archives.php?id=24 (See April 26th and click on"listen")
*See chron article athttp://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/04/18/BAG7KCAJHS1.DTL
*Get more info on the status of the Federal Budget at www.cbpp.org

SF Section 8 Cuts -
Talking Points

- We can no longer rely on federal housing funds. Housing for the poor mustbe a priority of local government.
-Any planning or implementation of efforts to end homelessness shouldincorporate solutions to the loss of Section 8 housing. Otherwise, peoplewith homes become homeless, as the city puts others from the streets intohousing.
-Housing development planning and funding should include housing options forthe poorest: $15,000 annual income (average Section 8 tenant income).
-Board should work with Congressional Delegation to fight for full fundingof Section 8 program.
- Do not allow further "ghettoization" of SF. S8 rent increases mean thattenants (who are 72% people of color) will be forced to areas where povertyis already concentrated and which have high crime, less services andsubstandard housing.
- City must expand services to soften the blow on impacted tenants:relocation assistance, housing placement, etc.
-Program cuts mean exodus of families from SF. 2BR units and higher areextremely scarce within the city limits. Families will be forced to leavethe city.

Key Facts about Section 8 Cuts

*50% voucher holders are seniors or disabled. 72% are people of color.
*5,000 famliies will be impacted by rent increases this year. Increasesaverage between $100-$400.
*Housing Authority assistance went down by 13%-16% this year for eachtenant. 2 bedroom was $1775 last year. This year is $1539.
*The Housing Authority has been cut by $5.7 million dollars in 2005. The2006 budget will result in a loss of 300 vouchers.
*25,000 families are currently on the S8 waiting list in SF.
*Average 2 bedroom market-rate rent is $2,323.

Sara Shortt
Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
427 South Van Ness
San Francisco, CA 94103415-703-8634
Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Coalition is planning a rally for Thursday may 3rd, the 1st anniversary of Care Not Cash. While Newsom has microfocused on the issue of homeless and brought some supportive housing online, many homeless people feel more negatively affected by CNC now than before it was instituted. Read Daly’s latest blog entries. If you know anyone who has been more excluded from care as a result of CNC, send them down on Thursday at 3pm 468 Turk to help plan.

UoW architecture students are working with the administration to formerly accommodate Tent City 3 on to their campus. Check out this school blog on archinect by Yamani Hernandez. I’m trying to get more details, but I think it is awesome to see the students be the impetus for this, and they are building structures to help draw more attention to the issue. Regardless of how sustainable you make Tent City, how sustainable is it , really?

There is a CAC meeting for the Surplus Property Initiative on Monday I will be attending with the Land & Liberty Coalition. If interested in building low income housing they will be giving a small presentation and overview.

Sam Davis will be at SPUR on 04.20 12:30 to talk about his book Designing for the Homeless.

SFGP Transportation WG screening of The End of SUBURBIA 04.27 7pm


The city just shut down a contentious TIC condo conversion proposal that would have specially grandfathered in a long clog in the pipes dictated by a 200 per year lottery. TIC are a pressure point for a failed system of generating affordable housing for middle income first time homeowners. Feeding that pipe only surges the seeds of that problem deeper into the system, and eats off the only viable affordability gauge in this city: rent control. Efforts should be put into forcing new housing to be built, rather than feeding the needle again.

The city is thinking about doubling the amount developers would be require to build affordable housing via the Inclusionary Housing Act, and before they forget, or lose steam , or don’t get it done, they should do it asaps. But is doubling it even enough? Recent projects point to higher percentages negotiated. Some say 50% would be appropriate. And Leno’s Ellis Eviction Act amendment is whirling overhead. The city needs to be aggressive in protecting the lower class, and also allowing viable avenues for the middle glass to grow that don’t fiend off those resources left at all to insure a door of affordability here. We are being pimped out for foreign investment and enrtreprenurial vacancy. Instead we’re building a new Death Row for San Quentin, giving away land to developers at Hunters Point, missing out on affordability in the new Mid Market Redev Plan, potentially forfeiting our SRO’s to market rate exploit….but hey, look what locals can do now to monitor their parks. The irony may be that once private developers have consumed most of the land, the rest of us may all end up in some strange renter space like this one, where homes are not affordable at all anymore, and we are forced to rent out space through whatever means the market constitutes. Maybe the definition of squatter will be re examined, those without land we will be made into homeless renters of contested urban space, institutionally evicted from one left over shelter option to another lesser kind shelter option, our salaries will be turned into subsidies forced down our throats, only be to collected again from us for having no other option but to occupy our little cardboard boxes. This city is becoming an even finer grade machine for dissecting displacement. But it is not enough to vote down the TIC conversion condo bill, they must address these pressure points that keep the voodoo trickle down housing benefits squashed out from the top, the developers only use the starving middle class as a buffer to just de-house the poor.

Where have the homeless gone? The city, it turns out, has absolutely no idea
– Just clean up the streets and pinch the poor harder than they can afford to raise money…
Bay Area rocket to new highs
California wants new houses, bubble or not

In Other News….Check this batch of recent postings I made to Archinect you should find interesting.

Refugee Urbanism
Homelessness increasing all over the world
The Growing Urbanization of the World
Ban Accepts the 40th Annual Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture

The Midnight Mission
Launching The 1% Solution

National AIDS Memorial Winner Announced
Bush to Cities
At the Border...
stroll Along the Border...
Beyond the Trailer Park

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