It is with much appreciation and gratitude that we address, you, the audience committed to see fair housing opportunities for those who will be displaced by the corrective process needed to relocate the residents of Richmond's Public Housing buildings.
Thanks to many of Richmond's Pastors and their congregants, we have accumulated nearly 300 signatures for our petition. It has been over 60 days since the story broke in the San Francisco Chronicle. Yet, little has been accomplished to resolve the issue. While we have again have gained national attention for having lower standards than the rest of the country, our united voice will ring aloud to right Richmond's public housing predicament. Acting with a sense of urgency is now required to bring expeditious solutions.
There are three severe challenges that we must overcome to ensure a smooth transition from the old sub-par units to new housing that has yet to be identified and procured. First, there are different types of vouchers which differ in what they will or will not cover for the residents such as; moving cost and enough money for first and last month's rent and a security deposit. Secondly, in this soft real-estate market, it will be extremely difficult to find landlords willing to rent their units to those who do not financially qualify (which is why there are in public housing in the first place) and because the residents have the stigma of coming from places that are rumored to have been unkempt by the tenants. Lastly, the projected budget numbers to relocate the residents of the Hacienda alone are far to low, especially considering the administration cost versus the monies going directly to the residents are out-of-balance.
Since Richmond's Public Housing Department has received poor ratings from HUD for their reporting habits and fiscal mismanagement, the city needs state and federal oversight protection for the transition. Local landlords or HUD officials will not honor all the vouchers, recently promised in a special City Council meeting. Therefore, all affected public housing residents will need to call-in to the state complaint department phone number (415) 489-6400. On April 1st, we were told that it would take up to 90-120 days for the Hacienda's demolition disposition application to be processed (which has not yet been started). These tortured tenants deserve more than lip service and empty promises.
As I prepare to send our petitions to our friends in higher governmental offices in hopes of bring our challenges to Secretary Donovan, please join our efforts by doing these three things:
- Help us get the word out by informing all who are not aware of this problem.
- Post this letter on your social media platforms and get as many people as you can to like what we are accomplishing.
- Pray for the resident's success toward relocation and pray for our city officials, they need it.
With all hope,
Pastor Henry Washington
The Gardens of Peace Ministry, Richmond, CA