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Stealing public housing from Oakland's poor

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 12:51pm

Oakland -- On Monday September 28, at 6:00 p.m., there will be a
hearing at the Oakland Housing Authority in the commissioners meeting
room that is designed to assist in the further taking of Oakland's
public housing units from the poor, through the promotion of the
proposed LHAP (program) being discussed to facilitate the disposition
of over 1,600 public housing units, from Oakland's poor.

Oakland Housing Authority creates loophole to use Section 8 funds for public housing

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/16/2009 - 10:47am

 Oakland - The disposition plan for over 1,600 public housing units owned and operated by the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), signals the end of public housing as we know it if other Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) follow suit and switch to the Section 8 model being promoted by the OHA for it's public housing program.

 In a nut shell, the OHA wants to determine which of it's small scattered public housing sites that are occupied with very low-income households, will be sold off, so that the proceeds can be used to build much larger mixed income housing projects for higher income residents, like the Hope Vl mixed income housing projects that have displaced the poor all across the nation.

Oakland: How I Really Got This Black Eye

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/09/2009 - 3:05pm

Last year, when I told friends I was moving to the Bay Area, they would all respond with equal parts joy and jealousy. "The Bay? Man, you're going to love it. The weather, the culture, the politics -- they've got all that." When I told them I was going to be living in Oakland specifically, the responses started to sound a little different. "Oh shit, The Town? You better watch your back." While folks were still down with the left-leaning, hip-hyphy, biracial baby that is the city of Oakland, they also made sure to tell me that this baby would jack me for my stroller if I wasn't smart.

But those were just scare stories. Right? Growing up in Washington, DC in the mid-90s, I'd seen both the reality and the exaggerated stereotype of the "murder capital." Violence at my high school and in some neighborhoods was all too real, but it was also an excuse for suburban commuters and absentee politicians (in this case, Congress, which controls DC's purse-strings) to disinvest from those same schools and neighborhoods, creating further inequality and violence.

West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure

Submitted by admin on Fri, 07/24/2009 - 4:32pm
West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure Photo: © 2009  Oakland Post/ Gene Hazzard

By Ken A. Epstein

Tosha Alberty, holding back the tears, stood in front of her West Oakland house Tuesday, explaining how she, her chil- dren and grandchildren had been evicted that morning from their home by the Alame- da County Sheriff’s Depart- ment.

“I’m here, standing by the grace of God, doing all I can to keep this home,” said Alber- ty, who was born and raised in West Oakland and had bought the home at the corner of 10th and Willow streets in 2005. “Who are they helping with all the (bank bailout) money?” she asked. ”I need the money. I’m a worker, and I’m trying to raise my children.”

The sheriffs had forced their way into the home at 8 a.m. while Alberty was at work. The children were moved out onto the street, with many of their possessions still inside the home. The locks were changed and the windows boarded up. She has the organized back- ing of Oakland ACORN, as well as help from the offi ce of County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Councilmem- bers Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks and Nancy Nadel.

At the time of this week’s eviction, with the backing of ACORN she had headed off two previous eviction attempts, and she was under the assump- tion that negotiations with the bank were still under way. When Alberty originally purchased the home, she paid $550,000 and had monthly payments of $3,800. Though she was unemployed at the time, a real estate broker ar- ranged a loan and told her that she would be able to refi nance in six months, she said. The family struggled to make their payments. Alberty found a good job – as a union employee working for the county – where she continues to work today. For two years, despite how high the payments were, she paid her mortgage on time and never missed a pay- ment.

Then her payments went up about $1,000 a month more, and she and her family could no longer pay. The mortgage Alberty called the bank to ask for help but was told there was nothing they could do, she said.

Organizing and Winning in Oakland Chinatown

The Right to Affordable Housing
By Chin Jurn Wor Ping (CJWP)*

"Let the sheriffs come and drag me out.” So said Yen Hom, an elderly tenant and resident who stayed to fight evictions at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza (Pac Ren) when she and other residents of the 50 affordable housing units in Tower II of the Plaza received eviction notices. As the struggle to keep the housing intensified, Art Hom described his mother’s strategy: “In the 60s, we conducted sit-ins. Well, for the last six months, my mom has been conducting a live-in.”   

In April 2003, over 150 people started moving years of belongings, memories, and hopes out of the heart of Oakland Chinatown, scattering to senior housing, market rate and other apartments in Oakland, and as far as Fremont and Los Angeles. Like Mrs. Hom, the elderly tenant who had witnessed the spectacular evictions of elderly manongs from the International Hotel nearly 30 years earlier, those who stayed became the soul of a community struggle for the right to affordable housing in an era of rampant gentrification and housing speculation.

This struggle links them, and us, to prior displacements of people of Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese descent, low-income communities of color across the nation, and to larger movements for justice, dignity, and human rights. We, Chin Jurn Wor Ping (CJWP) or “Moving Forward for Peace” in Cantonese, are a collective of people of Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese heritage with progressive political worldviews, working together in the Bay Area for peace and social justice.

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Loans to affordable housing nonprofits appear likely despite tenant fears

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 03/16/2009 - 12:49pm

OAKLAND — Low-income residents, fearing they will be displaced if the city approves loaning almost $10 million to nonprofits poised to take over the buildings those residents call home, asked Tuesday that City Council members cancel those loans.

Their request came as four council members held a meeting of the city's Community and Economic Development Agency, considering what to do with more than 600 affordable housing units left with an uncertain future after the unexpected collapse of the nonprofit that owns them.


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