County OKs subsidized housing for probationers, parolees
In some cases, they may move ahead of seniors
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to allow homeless probationers and parolees to qualify for government-subsidized housing.
“We believe that this will help increase public safety while decreasing taxpayers’ expenditures,” said Alisa Orduna of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
The change is just one element of the Housing Authority’s annual plan, which updates program goals and policies as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The ban on probationers and parolees was identified by community advocates as one of the major barriers to housing the chronically homeless through the Section 8 voucher program, according to a Housing Authority representative who spoke to the board.
In an effort to get more homeless people off the street, the county will also cut its criminal history review period for drug-related and violent crime from three to two years. The shorter review is in line with other voucher programs that target the homeless and homeless veterans in particular.
The changes could mean that some probationers and parolees move to the front of the line for subsidized housing as they become eligible for vouchers specifically set aside for homeless people.
“So you could have senior citizens who have been waiting who will still have to wait, while these individuals step in front of them to get housing?” Supervisor Michael Antonovich asked.
“Yes,” said the housing representative, who acknowledged that the agency had to balance competing priorities.
There are about 22,000 residents receiving Section 8 housing assistance in Los Angeles County and an estimated 191,000 individuals on a waiting list for vouchers.
Other policy changes, including translation services, are designed to make the application process easier for those with limited ability to speak English.
In yet another set of changes, compliance checks of Section 8 housing will now be required to be led by the Housing Authority and conducted weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., or Saturday with the advance consent of the tenant. Housing checks will only be videotaped with the tenant’s written consent under the new rules.
The compliance check changes were intended to address concerns raised in the Antelope Valley, where allegations of discriminatory policing by sheriff’s deputies in Lancaster and Palmdale led to a federal civil rights probe.
In February, Palmdale settled a lawsuit alleging that the two high desert cities waged an “unrelenting war” against Section 8 housing by aggressively soliciting complaints, threatening landlords and intimidating low-income Black and Latino renters to force them out of the area. Lancaster remains a defendant to the suit.
In addition to the policy changes, the Housing Authority indicated that it plans to dispose of 38 public housing sites totaling 409 units in South Los Angeles. Agency officials said the sites are very small and scattered through the community, making it difficult to efficiently manage and police them. The Housing Authority hopes to replace them with a more efficient model.
By ELIZABETH MARCELLINO
Lancaster is suing the county Housing Authority in effort to recoup about $400,000 in legal fees related to a Section 8 fraud investigation program that civil rights advocates charged was discriminatory.
“The ongoing litigation over our Section 8 fraud investigation program, which aimed only to protect taxpayers by eradicating fraud from the system and freeing up (housing) vouchers for those who are truly in need, has cost the city dearly,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A 2,093-acre solar power project in the Antelope Valley was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors today, despite objections from defense contractor Northrop Grumman.
The project, dubbed AV Solar Ranch One will create “400 jobs over the next three years” and “over $50 million in local taxes,” said Frank De Rosa, senior vice president of North American project development for First Solar Inc., which will build it.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In light of a 63-year-old woman being mauled to death by pit bulls in the high desert community of Littlerock, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today asked staffers today to evaluate a proposed change in the county’s definition of a dangerous dog.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who said “four killer pit bulls” attacked Pamela Devitt, called for the change.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — High surf pounded the coast and fierce winds howled across the Southland today, with gusts topping 70 mph whipping the Saugus area and 50 mph in Lancaster.
As the nation slowly emerges from the Great Recession, the economic numbers for the Antelope Valley show a much higher rate of sustained unemployment and devalued housing prices in both Lancaster and Palmdale.
The five-year economic downturn saw much of the area’s the job losses come from the construction industry and retail sales. At the beginning of the year, Lancaster had an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent while Palmdale fared better at 11.1 percent. In 2008 the two cities lost a little fewer than 1,000 jobs combined, according to a 2009 report.