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Rep. .@MaxineWaters wants #Obama to “Rethink Strategy” for Public Housing

Waters with current FHFA Chair Mel Watt.

Waters with current FHFA Chair Mel Watt.

Rep. Maxine Waters is calling on President Barack Obama to rethink his strategy to privatize public housing.  Recipients of public housing vouchers are lifetime recipients of this burdensome benefit.  Many of the public housing projects are dilapidated and in dire need of redevelopment and also have high crime and drug rates.

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In a Letter to the President, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Committee’s Ranking Member, expressed concern about the expansion of what has become known as the “Rental Assistance Demonstration,” or RAD, a controversial new demonstration program that allows public housing to convert to private ownership as part of a preservation strategy.

In the letter, Waters expressed her concerns with the government’s advocacy of RAD to resolve issues with chronic underfunding of public housing. She also underscored the importance of fully funding the traditional public housing program, which provides an important safety net for 1.2 million families.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development:

RAD is a central part of the Department’s rental housing preservation strategy, which works to preserve the nation’s stock of deeply affordable rental housing, promote efficiency within and among HUD programs, and build strong, stable communities.

An example of a RAD development is Pueblo del Sol, a housing project in Boyle Heights, that is operated by McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) and received Hope VI funds to redevelop.

Aliso Village was a housing project in Los Angeles, California. It was built in 1942 and demolished 1999. The 29-acre parcel was replaced by Pueblo del Sol. The complex was owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.

Aliso Village was a housing project in Los Angeles, California. It was built in 1942 and demolished 1999. The 29-acre parcel was replaced by Pueblo del Sol. The complex was owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.

Aliso Village, was a 29-acre parcel, which was drug and gang infested, and was replaced with Pueblo del Sol.  MBS had to relocate all of the residents to upgrade the site.  Once completed, tenants were invited to return to the housing site, under new terms and conditions.  T&C ranged from:  performing community service, working and/or volunteering, to maintain eligibility to live on site.  The update T&C’s were also a direct effort to curb and eradicate the violence and drug use that plagued the projects before revitalization.

Aliso Village after redevelopment and becoming Pueble del Sol.

Aliso Village after redevelopment and becoming Pueble del Sol.

Did I fail to mention that market rate homes sit adjacent to the projects, on the same land, thus making a passerby unable to ascertain which are regular housing vs. the projects.

Why would Rep. Maxine Waters not want to ensure that the housing project remain safe and gang free after redevelopment occurs?  Is this why funding to revitalize Jordan Downs fell through?  If Jordan Downs does receive redevelopment funding, will all of the current residents be able to return?  Ask the residents who weren’t allowed to return to Pueblo del Sol, once the “new” guidelines kicked in.

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