West Hollywood Will Explore Landlord Incentives to Ease Impact of Rent Subsidy Reductions

West Hollywood will explore the possibility of offering incentives to landlords whose tenants receive a federal rent subsidy as well as lobbying county, state and federal officials to alleviate the impact of a reduction in that subsidy, which will take effect in July.

affordable housing section 8At the City Council meeting Monday night, Councilmember Abbe Land said she was worried that the proposed 7.4 percent reduction in the subsidy, followed by an additional 8 percent cut next year, would make it difficult for some low income tenants to afford the food and medicine they need. Her concerns were echoed by council members John Heilman and John Duran.

Currently there are 801 West Hollywood residents who are enrolled in the federal Section 8 subsidy program. Those low-income tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent. Landlords who participate in the program must agree to charge no more than a “fair market” rent, which is determined by the federal government. West Hollywood’s Section 8 program is administered by the Los Angeles County Housing Authority.

The subsidy reductions are the result of so-called “sequestration” federal budget cuts that took effect last year and whose impact has been enormous on low-income people across the country.

In a report to the Council, Human Services said the reduction will likely result in an increased demand for city food services and counseling that the city provides to low-income people in need of housing. The report noted that it would cost the city as much as $817,000 to make up for the reductions that begin in July, which would grow to $1.6 million a year by 2015.

But if the city were to add its own subsidy, that might jeopardize a tenant’s ability to qualify for the Section 8 program because it could be consider part of his or her income.

Duran suggested the city examine the possibility of offering incentives to landlords instead, such as reductions in fees they now pay to the city to reduce the impact of the subsidy cuts. Stephanie Harker, a West Hollywood resident, asked the Council to engage local residents in a discussion of possible solutions.

“This is a severe situation,” said Elizabeth Savage, the director of the city’s Department of Human Services and Rent Stabilization. “There are no good answers.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

18 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mike dunn
7 years ago

This item that appeared on the City Council’s last agenda sure has stirred up a can of worms. The Russian Community must be scrambling to cover this up.

Alison
Alison
7 years ago

Luca, this is not an issue West Hollywood leaders can do anything about other than work with the County. This is a Los Angeles County issue – the people who run Section 8, which is a Federal program run by local counties. If our City leaders weren’t so blind to the fact that there is so much fraud going on, and it is being perpetrated by their beloved Russian community in most cases, then MAYBE the the Section 8 people would rescind the fraudsters subsidies, prosecute them and hopefully the Courts would demand restitution to our local landlords. In Marco’s… Read more »

luca d
luca d
7 years ago

marco’s post is fascinating and informative. it is sad when people in true need are lost in the bureaucracy and fraud committed by others.
west hollywood leaders are never going to show leadership in this issue because of votes. a few of the current members lobby and rely on those east side votes.
west hollywood is comprised of and will fall because of what will be seen as fractured special interests.
money leads the pack, followed by the gay lobby and so on.
chatter about affordable housing is a joke.

mike dunn
7 years ago

Sometimes I fell pretty good and jump out of my car or truck that have Disabled Plates and other times I need my cane to get around. It just depend. Perhaps this young man was having a good day or perhaps that placard was his parents or “Sugar Daddy’s.”

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
7 years ago

Exactly, Manny. Now imagine that agile young driver leaving his Escalade in the handicapped spot for 3 days because he lives across the street and can’t be bothered to move it.
I imagine that Pavillions wouldn’t allow that and that even with a placard you have to abide by the 2 or 3 hour time limit but the city does allow it, thereby encouraging people of questionable morals to abuse the system.
The victims of this lazy regulation system are the truly disabled people to whom these spots are seldom available when they need them.
Enough preaching for today…

Manny
Manny
7 years ago

To continue this off topic….Yes, handicap placards, medical marijuana and service dogs are all privileges that are abused on a routine bases. It is the norm to see dogs at the Pavillions being carried about in grocery baskets, off leash and sniffing products on the shelves. I was recently driving into a parking lot with a truly disable passenger and about to use her handicap placard for parking. But the Escalade in from of me pulled into the handicapped parking spot. The young driver, with a handicap placard, then jumped out of the SUV and quickly and with great agility… Read more »

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
7 years ago

Valid question, Alison. Whatever legit health issues these people may have does not seem to stop them from playing hockey and tennis. The larger point here is, not to make it so easy for opportunists to take advantage of a well-meaning system. Instead of demonizing them, to make the loopholes a little harder to slip through. From what I hear there are similar issues with Section 8.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
7 years ago

There definitely is fraud going on here that should be addressed while better helping those that are truly in need.

The other fraud that is rampant here in East WeHo are handicapped placards which some of my non-handicapped neighbors obtain and blatantly use to park their fleet of cars long-term in 3-hour handicapped spots. I have brought this up to staff and commissioners but nobody seems to care too much. Meanwhile the truly handicapped often do not find parking in front of the senior center.

Alison
Alison
7 years ago
Reply to  Rudolf Martin

Are you sure these people don’t have invisible medical conditions that qualify them for the placards? There are many conditions that can’t be seen (like heart problems, back problems, etc). Just because they are not using canes or wheelchairs doesn’t mean they are committing fraud.

If they are, it is the doctor that signed the declaration that they are disabled, in addition to the person themselves, that are committing fraud.

Alison
Alison
7 years ago

Senior Housing is a local program. If WeHo is still giving the Russian community special privileges over others, I disagree with that. They have been here long enough and there are low income native born Americans that need housing also. It should be first come, first serve after all these years.

I agree with you on that Mike.

Alison
Alison
7 years ago

Mike, that is a Federal issue. Take it up with them.

Thank you for your service.

IMHO, prosecution for fraud and restitution would be enough.

mike dunn
7 years ago

Alison They may be very nice neighbors but to be afforded special privileges is wrong. I don’t care if a person is from Russia or Mexico they should not receive Section 8 or Senior Housing until they become citizens. Gays were and are still persecuted here, should they receive special treatment when applying for Senior Housing? I was denied employment after my discharge from the Army during Viet Nam, should I be given special treatment if I desired Senior Housing. My point being, the Russian Community was welcomed here but special treatment in giving them preferential treatment is and was… Read more »

Alison
Alison
7 years ago

Mike Dunn, the Russian community came here as refugees over 20 years ago, which afforded them special status. At the time, I was on the waiting list for the County Section 8 and was a little perturbed they got put to the top of the list, but later came to understand why. Some have been my neighbors now since they came here and I’ve come to love having them here. Most of my Russian neighbors are now American citizens.

Senior housing is not Section 8.

Grow a heart. The Russian community is part of our WeHo COMMUNITY.

Click to Hide Advanced Floating Content

0 0 votes
Article Rating
18
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x