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Affordable Housing As a Way of Life!

I recently came back from another file audit…this time it was outside of Cleveland…as I was going through the files I kept coming  across the fact that there were some residents who have been there not just since the 90’s, but the 80’s.  I spoke with the property manager there and she had told me that there were in some cases three generations of the same family living on site.  It was appalling to me the other day as it was the first few audits I had done years ago.  This time I just had to write about it.

The other discovery I made is that some residents  (not all ) who live in affordable housing feel no respect towards the property owners and feel that it is not only their right to live there but feel that the property is theirs to trash.  Additionally, some residents take out their frustrations on the property manager who are only there to manage the property.

My frustration is two-fold…One, the “system” gives very little to no incentive to the tenant to move on.  Two, tenants are just not motivated.  What a flawed system to allow a person or persons to live in subsidized housing for so long and to make affordable housing a way of life instead of a way to life.  I certainly don’t want folks to be homeless.  Trust me when I tell you that it is not an easy to explain to my kids why some people are homeless.  But we need a system that incentivizes people to use affordable housing as a stepping stone and as I said earlier, a way to life.

HUD does have the HUD Section 3 program in place and a new initiative called the Family Self Sufficiency Program for Public Housing so it will be interesting to see if they can motivate folks to get out there in the workforce.

What is HUD Section 3?

It is a means by which HUD fosters local economic development, neighborhood economic improvement, and individual self-sufficiency. Section 3 is the legal basis for providing jobs for residents and awarding contracts to businesses in areas receiving certain types of HUD financial assistance.

Under Section 3 of the HUD Act of 1968, wherever HUD financial assistance is expended for housing or community development, to the greatest extent feasible, economic opportunities will be given to Section 3 residents and businesses in that area.  http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/section3/section3brochure

What is the Family Self-Sufficiency Program?

The purpose of the Public Housing FSS (PH FSS) program is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate the use of assistance under the Public Housing program with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.

http://www.AHTCSonline.com/Industry Links/FAQs/fssfactsheet.pdf