HUD Responds to NAHT Tenants!
HUD has published a Memo implementing HUD’s commitments at the NAHT conference HUD plenary on June 10, in response to issues raised by NAHT tenant leaders!
The Memo instructs Owners to:
- Ensure 24 Notice to tenants prior to ANY physical inspections
- Make copies of final REAC Reports and key correspondence available to tenants for 60 days
- Make copies of Notices of Default or Violation, Corrective Action Plans and 100% Surveys, if any, available to tenants
- Make copies of Owners' "Self Certification" of compliance for emergency Health and Safety citations
- Post a Notice to all residents with contact information to HUD for tenants to file complaints about discrepancies in owners’ claims
25th Annual NAHT Conference
The 25th Annual NAHT Conference to Save Our Homes was a complete success!
The first day of the conference started off yesterday with registration, snacks and reuniting with old friends.
Sunday morning began with our Group Awards Ceremony. Organized tenant groups from around the country were recognized for their struggles to save affordable housing, improve conditions, fight for their right to organize and more!
“Everybody in here pays taxes to live in housing that is safe, sanitary and affordable housing, and we’re not gonna stop fighting til we get it!” -Latresa, tenant leader in Atlanta, GA fighting for improved living conditions in her home!
“Management tried to individuate us. I ain’t bowing down to nobody. I’m a resident and I deserve the best.” -Linda from Chicago
“We wanna make sure no one loses their home in the RAD process.”
After the awards ceremony, we were joined by two keynote speakers, Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Molly Parker, investigative reporter from the Southern Illinoisan who reports on subsidized housing condition issues.
The NAHT Conference boasts 20 tenant-led workshops on a variety of topics. Tenant leaders from around the country led discussions on Section 8 contracts, how to start and sustain a tenant group, REAC reform, how to win repairs, security with justice, fair housing, resident ownership, gentrification and displacement and many more. We got the opportunity to talk to each other, learn from each other and left feeling empowered to take what we learned back to our buildings.
Every year, NAHT meets with top HUD officials to press our agenda on tenant involvement in the REAC inspection process, management oversight process and funding for tenant organizing. Thank you to all HUD officials who attended! See our proposals here!
The final day of the conference is our legislative advocacy day! In the morning, tenants presented our legislative agenda, which a can be found here, which includes tenant empowerment and REAC reform provisions, to legislative aides from Congressional offices from both the House and the Senate.
Then we got visits from several special guest allies!
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) believes in the power of rent withholding to enforce housing standards and so do we! Our bill would strengthen rent withholding for HUD tenants by withholding HUD’s portion of the rent when tenants go on rent strike in substandard buildings!
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) longtime supporter of NAHT, spoke on the importance of full funding for public housing, project based Section 8 and other HUD programs. It should be the mission of our nation to take care of the most vulnerable!
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) met with NAHT yet again and encouraged us to keep fighting, keep voting and keep speaking up for ourselves. Thank you for your long time support of tenant organizing, safe and healthy housing and tenant empowerment!
“We have to make sure we’re preserving the affordable housing that exists and we have to raise the living conditions. We have to empower tenants and residents to move us in the right direction.” Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is on board! Thank you for meeting with us!
All in all, another great NAHT Conference is on the books. Thanks to all the attendees, volunteers and presenters for making our 25th Annual Conference a success!
HUD Tenant Leaders Demand Congress Declare Trump’s 2020 Budget “Dead on Arrival”
For release: March 13, 2019
Contact: Geraldine Collins 516-425-6723 [email protected] or Michael Kane 617-233-1885 [email protected]
Elected leaders of the national US tenants union today demanded immediate and total rejection by Congress of President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, released on March 11.
“Its actually worse than last year. Trump’s budget will push people from their homes; starve seniors, children and families; and deny health care to millions of people,” said Geraldine Collins, President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), who lives in a senior housing development in Manhattan. “People will die if these proposals see the light of day. Congress should declare Trump’s 2019 budget ‘dead on arrival’ instead.”
Added Collins, “The recent shutdown crisis led by Trump caused millions to panic that they would be evicted because HUD and USDA funds would run out for their homes. Landlords are now warier about taking Section 8 tenants, and housing authorities are under severe pressure to sell off public housing. You have to ask: was the shutdown a deliberate attempt to destroy HUD rental housing? Another ‘shutdown showdown’ is looming again in September over Trump’s Wall.” Collins noted that the 16% cut proposed this year is consistent with the Heritage Foundation’s draconian plan to terminate HUD rental housing over 10 years, embraced by Trump’s Chief of Staff and former Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.Read more
With A Short-Term Deal To End The Government Shutdown We Are Not Out Of The Woods Yet
The stop-gap agreement with congressional leaders will last three weeks, until Feb. 15, and would allow talks to continue over border security and a wall on the southern border. The agreement includes no new money for the wall, and is a massive concession on Trump's behalf after refusing a similar funding package a month ago.
With the temporary re-opening of HUD and other agencies, an immediate catastrophe was averted as airports began to close across the country. Congress has now authorized about two more months of funding for HUD, USDA and other critical agencies.
Trump’s Shutdown Threatens 3.4 Million Low Income Tenants with Displacement: Take Action NOW to Save Our Homes!
The Trump shutdown of HUD and other federal agencies has already dragged on for 19 days, the longest in US history, with no end in sight! HUD tenants are already feeling the sting.
On Monday, January 7, HUD announced that no funds are available to renew 1,150 Section 8 contracts that expired in December 2018 and January 2019, or another 550 contracts that expire in February 2019 or beyond. An estimated 100,000 low income households--elderly, people with disabilities and families with children-- already face repair and service cutbacks, and could face rent increases and displacement, if HUD funds are not restored soon.
Worse, another 21,150 Section 8 contracts housing 1.1 million low income renters have been funded only through February. There is no evidence that HUD has funds for these properties if the shutdown continues into March, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
In addition, HUD does not have funds to continue subsidies after February for 2.2 million more Section 8 Voucher recipients, administered by local housing authorities. For all Section 8 tenants, owners could attempt to terminate the leases low income tenants unable to pay rents three or four times what they pay today, to cover operating costs if HUD subsidies are terminated.
Trump has threatened to make the shutdown last for “months or years” if he doesn’t get his Wall. If the shutdown lasts past February, a total of 3.4 million Section 8 tenants could lose their homes.
On January 2, the newly elected House voted to approve a HUD Appropriations bill, previously passed by the Republican Senate, to fully fund Section 8. But Republican Leader McConnell refuses to bring this or any other funding bill to the Senate Floor, unless Trump will sign it, and Trump has vowed to reject any bill until Congress provides $5.6 billion for the Wall. Democrats demand that Congress reopen closed agencies first, and debate “border security” and the Wall separately.
For a good explanation of how Section 8 contracts work and the threats to HUD tenants, see the NBC articles below and this blog post from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Also see NAHT's resource page for articles about the impact of the shutdown on current low-income tenants.
What Tenants Can Do To Save Our Homes
- Find the buildings whose contracts have already expired and are not yet funded. You can check if your building has a Section 8 contract expiring soon on through NLIHC's map here or through their spreadsheet here. If your building is on this list, most likely HUD funds have ALREADY been cut from your building! Owners and managers can see if they have been receiving payments from HUD through their online database system, called LOCCS (HUDs Line of Credit Control System). Contact the owner and manager of your building and ask them if they have funds available in their LOCCS account have been receiving payments through LOCCS.
- Line up tenant leaders for quotes in media stories about the cuts--issue a press release and contact local media, to make tenant voices heard! Use the press release from the NAHT Board for quotes and messaging. If you can, organize a press conference at a housing development, city agency, HUD office or local Senator’s office--invite elected officials to join tenants to protest the cuts! Let NAHT know of affected tenants willing to talk to national media! NAHT has been contacted by national media outlets, including NBC News, looking for tenants to interview at affected buildings. Contact NAHT at 617-522-4523 or [email protected]
- Mobilize tenants to tell Congress to approve HUD funding NOW, especially in buildings with expiring contracts where you have tenant contacts. If you don’t, doorknock and post flyers letting tenants know that their building is directly affected and the information they need to contact their Senator, including a call-in script. Click here to find your Senator or Representative, especially Republicans who have refused to fund HUD. In particular, tell Republican Senators to pass the Appropriations Bill they supported before the shutdown started! Organize phone banks to call your Senator, or ask tenants to call while doorknocking.
Message: “I’m a <senior, disabled, family> Section 8 tenant at <your development>. Without Section 8, my rent could triple or quadruple overnight and I would lose my home. I’m one of 3.4 million Section 8 tenants who could lose our homes if the shutdown lasts through February. My home should not be held hostage to Trump’s Wall!”
For Democrats: Thank them for their support to pass the HUD budget NOW.
For Republican Senators: Demand that they tell Majority Leader McConnell to bring the HUD funding bill to the Senate Floor and pass it NOW!
For Republican Representatives (House): Demand they vote to support the HUD funding bill and override Trump’s veto. A vote against the HUD bill is a vote to throw people out of their homes.
- Start a social media campaign. Post your messages to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Find your Senator’s Twitter handle here and your Representatives Twitter handle here.. Organize Twitter users to tweet on the same day or in a specific time window using the same hashtag to get your topic “trending”.
- Organize a postcard campaign demanding your Congresspeople pass the Appropriations bill to reopen the government! You can organize press and social media when postcards are delivered to local offices. See NAHT's postcard and phone bank tip sheet here!
- Keep NAHT posted of your local actions! We will post them on NAHT’s Facebook page and website. Join NAHT’s weekly Strategy Calls as long as the shutdown lasts. Contact the NAHT office to join the list serve. The calls are currently every Wednesday at 12:30 pm EST.
DISLCALIMER: VISTA Volunteers are not permitted to lobby for or against legislation.