Source: Toshio Meronek, Truthout, March 13, 2015
….San Francisco’s historically black Fillmore district was one of the casualties of an early federal redevelopment program, Urban Renewal. In the 1950s, Fillmore was known as the “Harlem of the West,” with a jazz scene that once hosted luminaries like John Coltrane and Billie Holiday….. Starting in the 1960s, City Hall forcibly bought or seized thousands of homes using eminent domain, eventually displacing about 17,000 people. After hearing these stories of black San Franciscans’ homes being demolished en masse, writer James Baldwin famously said in a TV interview that “urban renewal . . . means Negro removal.” The Fillmore’s redevelopment was one of the major city initiatives that caused San Francisco’s black population to drop by about 70 percent between 1970 and 2013. In 2009, the mayor’s office commissioned a study on black flight, finding that affordable housing was the top reason black people were leaving the city in droves. HOPE VI was President Clinton’s 1990s HUD project, which released funds to local developers to demolish dilapidated housing projects and build mixed-income units in their place. Theoretically, residents had a “right of return” – a guaranteed ticket into the revamped location once construction was complete. However, a study by the Urban Institute, a DC-based think tank, found only 19 percent of households studied returned to their HOPE VI-redeveloped homes…. Even more troubling, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that just one-sixth of demolished public housing units have actually been rebuilt, with no funds appropriated to build additional public housing for two decades. As the authors of “False HOPE” put it, HOPE VI resulted in “the wholesale destruction of communities” and “the displacement of very large numbers of low-income households of color.” San Francisco is the largest incubator for RAD, which according to HUD already lays claim to 13,000 units nationwide, with as many as 70,000 more on the way. Seventy-five percent of SF’s public housing units will be converted under the program within the next few years…..Baltimore is another RAD testing ground, and, as its Right to Housing Alliance ominously notes:
In 40 years, when the contracts with developers expire, the new owners will be able to convert the buildings to market -ate rents, forcing out low-income renters, essentially ending public housing . . .
Unsurprisingly, the real estate industry is thrilled. They see the dollar signs ahead, and have gone so far as to create a lobbying group called Lift the RAD Cap Coalition to push the privatization movement along. Under the cloak of an “interest in preserving affordable housing,” the Coalition hopes to expand RAD to convert all public housing into public-private partnerships, where they’ll potentially reap billions in government funding to build, manage and renovate housing that was previously government-run….
Congresswoman Maxine Waters condemns RAD public housing privatization scheme
Source: Lynda Carson, Bay View, December 31, 2014
…. In an effort to save public housing in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and nationwide, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Committee on Financial Services in the House of Representatives, wrote a letter to President Obama on Dec. 10 condemning the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD. RAD is the latest attempt by the federal government to privatize and sell off our nation’s public housing stock to the multi-billion dollar so-called affordable housing industry.
HUD’s privatization scheme may herald end of public housing
Source: Rebecca Burns ∙ Al Jazeera ∙ November 13, 2014
At a time when a shortage of affordable housing is devastating low-income families, U.S. policymakers appear to have all but given up on the idea of a state-managed public housing system. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says more than $26 billion (PDF) is needed to repair the nation’s aging public housing, a backlog that has left many residents in deteriorating living conditions. Yet the notion that the solution lies in improved public funding and support — or that public housing should be publicly owned at all — has become a political nonstarter. Instead HUD is embarking on a sweeping privatization program in the name of renovation. After decades of demolitions and decay of public housing units, the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a pilot program that purports to preserve existing housings units by providing access to more stable funding, could eradicate public housing as we know it within the next three decades. …. After decades of demolitions and decay of public housing units, the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a pilot program that purports to preserve existing housings units by providing access to more stable funding, could eradicate public housing as we know it within the next three decades. …
RAD = Bad For Public Housing
Source: Daily Kos Labor, April 27, 2014
The Rental Assistance Demonstration program is a new privatization scheme being rolled out by (Housing & Urban Development) HUD, which faces a $26 Billion backlog in public housing repairs. 2.2 Million people live in public housing across the country, but it’s been underfunded since the 1970’s. Approximately, 10,000 public housing units are lost each year due to disrepair. The program will allow private developers to take over the managing and running of public housing. It will also allow developers to take out loans from private banks and investors to maintain the buildings. RAD is a pilot program, starting with 60,000 units across the country. RAD does protect some residents rights in its 200 page notice (PDF) but, it remains unclear how rights not covered in the document will be enforced….