Mayor to explore dissolving Richmond Housing Authority

7
1959
State of the City: Richmond faces difficult financial road

By Richmond Mayor Tom Butt

While the longstanding and increasingly acrimonious issues between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Richmond Housing Authority (RHA) may be in some small part due to mismanagement or incompetence, they are mostly due to a simple failure of HUD to provide a funding level sufficient to operate and maintain housing units in the RHA inventory, including the staff to manage it. HUD funding has diminished dramatically over the last decade, and the Trump administration budget proposal will axe another $6 billion from HUD’s public housing programs.

This is not sustainable. The City of Richmond has already dipped into its general fund to subsidize the RHA, and the prospect for additional future subsidies is almost certain. I believe it may be time for the City of Richmond to get out of the public housing business. This doesn’t mean that the existing subsidized public housing inventory in Richmond will go away, but we can transfer it to another agency or even HUD which will operate it presumably in a way that satisfies HUD.

In order to explore this further, as chair of the governing body of the Richmond Housing Authority and mayor of the City of Richmond, I shall request, as provided for by California Health and Safety Code Section 34318, that the commissioners of the Richmond Housing Authority convene one or more public or private hearings as early as September of 2017, to conduct an investigation, hear testimony, and take proof under oath on the matter of insufficient HUD funding for operations and maintenance for the Richmond Housing Authority.

At the hearings, witnesses will be called, subpoenaed if necessary, sworn under oath, and requested to testify and produce documents and records. A potential list of witnesses may include, but is not limited to:

  • Ben Carson (HUD)
  • Gerard Windt (HUD)
  • Donna Richardson (HUD)
  • Joel A. Foreman (HUD)
  • Darius G. Miknaitis (HUD)
  • Richard T. Kim (HUD)
  • Mart Ann Creager (HUD)
  • Judith G. DeHaven
  • Miguel A. FontanezSanchez (HUD)
  • June E. Burnes (HUD)
  • Robert H. Boepple (HUD)
  • Caleb G. Kopczyk (HUD)
  • Lynn Ambrosiano (HUD)
  • Nicole R. Jackson (HUD)
  • Milan M. Ozdinec (HUD)
  • Edwad L. Moses (HUD)
  • Unabyrd L. Wadhams (HUD)
  • Jerrald Hite (HUD)
  • Tim Jones
  • Tia Ingram
  • Bill Lindsay
  • Joseph Villareal (CCC Housing Authority)

As early as September of 2017, I also plan to introduce a resolution (click here for draft resolution) for consideration for dissolution of the Richmond Housing Authority. The proposed dissolution would not remove any affordable units from Richmond but would be intended to result in a sustainable plan to maintain them.

This post first appeared in Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s e-forum newsletter.

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