Low Income Housing in Southern California by tbj58808


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									                        Southern California
                        Housing Authority Executive Director's Association
                        Federal Tax Identification Number 95-4627795


President,              September 29, 2003
Peter Mezza
Santa Monica
                        The Honorable Susan A. Davis
Vice President,         United States Congress, 53rd District
Linda Foster            1224 Longworth House Office Building
Santa Ana               Washington, D.C. 20515

Secretary,              Re: VA/HUD Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations
Kristin Kammerer
Norwalk                 Dear Congresswoman Davis,

Treasurer,              On behalf of the 35 member agencies of the Southern California Housing Authority
Don Swift               Executive Director’s Association (HAEDA), I am writing to convey our concerns about FY
Los Angeles County      2004 VA/HUD Appropriations.

Member agencies:        The issue of Section 8 administrative fees is vitally important to our members who
Anaheim                 collectively administer over 163,000 Section 8 vouchers for low-income families in Southern
Baldwin Park            California. The House proposed cut to the administrative fees would reduce the
Burbank                 administrative fees of Southern California housing authorities by an average of 21.5%. The
Calexico                administrative fee reduction would impact the quality of service provided to participating
                        tenants and landlords and the tens of thousands of households on our waiting lists. We
Culver City
Encinitas               support the Senate bill, because it proposes no changes to the Section 8 administrative
Garden Grove            fee.
Hawthorne               The issue of operating reserves is also very important. The reserves built up over prior years
Imperial Valley         have helped our members respond to the affordable housing crisis by allowing agencies to
Kern County             initiate owner incentive and marketing programs, provide housing search assistance to
Long Beach              tenants, or fund affordable housing development. The operating reserve level proposed in the
Los Angeles City        House bill is not in keeping with sound business practices. It would also severely limit the
Los Angeles County      ability of housing authorities to respond to the affordable housing crisis in our communities.
                        We support the Senate bill, because it allows our agency to build reserves to address
Orange County           Southern California’s housing needs.
Pasadena                Of concern equal to the Section 8 funding issues is the insufficient funding being
Pico Rivera             contemplated for the low rent public housing program. H.R. 2861 proposes funding of
Port Hueneme            $3.6 billion for the public housing operating fund, $2.7 billion for the public housing capital
Redondo Beach           fund and $50 million for the HOPE VI Program. S. 1584 proposes funding of $3.57 billion
Riverside               for the operating fund, $2.6 billion for the capital fund and $195 million for the HOPE VI
San Bernardino County   Program.
San Buenaventura
San Diego Commission
                        We ask that you support the higher funding levels for each of the three programs. The higher
San Diego County
Santa Ana               funding levels are a needed benefit to local public housing agencies. The higher funding
Santa Barbara County    levels, however, are still inadequate, given the growing needs and increased costs of
Santa Monica            preserving the nation’s public housing projects.
Santa Paula
South Gate              The proposed operating fund subsidy is basically the same as last year. There have, however,
Upland                  been significant increases in insurance and utilities costs for local housing authorities. Earlier
Ventura County
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this year, HUD found a funding shortfall of approximately $250 million nationwide in operating subsidies, but declined to
pursue additional funding to cover the shortfall. Also, there has been no restoration of funding for the successful Public
Housing Drug Elimination Program. Thus, while we support a funding level of $3.7 billion for the operating fund, we
believe it is still inadequate to meet the needs of our local agencies.

Since 2000, there has also been an erosion in appropriations for the capital fund ($2.9 billion in 2000 to $2.7 billion in
2003), despite a growing backlog of modernization needs. A study, conducted by Abt Associates for HUD, estimated that in
1998, public housing developments had capital needs totaling $24.6 billion. A number of factors have led to this backlog,
including the aging of public housing developments and historically inadequate funding levels for public housing
maintenance and modernization. Aging housing stock and inadequate funding continue to plague public housing in this

Also, housing authorities, with Congressional approval, have used capital improvement funds for other management needs,
including economic development activities, since Congress has been unable to appropriate separate funds for these activities
which also enhance the quality of life for public housing residents. Several analysts have shown that it would take
appropriations of $4.5 billion annually for ten years to successfully address the backlog described in 1998.

We ask for your support of continued funding for the HOPE VI program. We are concerned about the small appropriations
being recommended for the program by both committees. This is a program that previously has received appropriations of
$570 million to $575 million annually. Thus, while we appreciate the higher funds provided in S. 1584, we are concerned
that even this funding level is inadequate. We also support the proposals to expand the program to smaller communities. The
HOPE VI program has played a major role in the revitalization and renewal of our cities and urban areas.

Thank you for your consideration of these matters. We appreciate your continuing support, and I welcome any questions
that you or your staff may have. Please contact Ms. Kammerer at (562) 929-5588 or me at (714) 667-2241 if we can be of


Peter Mezza, President

by Kristin Kammerer, Secretary

                     Southern California Housing Authority Executive Director’s Association

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