Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Section 8

The U.S. Government offers rental payment assistance to the poorest Americans through HUD in three ways

  • Privately owned subsidized housing - landlords receive assistance from HUD for offering low rent to low income tenants.
  • Public housing - housing units/apartments owned by the government offered to low income tenants
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) - a voucher is given to a low income person to use for paying rent in the home of their choice.
In each case, the tenant pays a percentage of their income, with of minimum payment due of 50 dollars each month - even if the tenant has no income.

The demand for these programs is high and often the waiting lists for these programs are many years long. BUT for newly created programs that address homelessness, these waiting lists can be bypassed, allow the homeless to move into housing much sooner.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Friday, May 23, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Permanent Housing

"Permanent Housing" is another of those phases used in the homelessness industry that isn't exactly what it sounds like.    Although permanency is the goal in getting a homeless person off the streets, the word "housing" betrays other intentions.   "Housing" never means "home".  Housing is always a facility or a program run by some organization.   And whenever a homeless person is living in such a facility or program, they are under additional obligations to the organization besides just paying rent.

For a truly non-homeless person, the only obligation they are under to maintain a home is to pay rent in a timely manner.  But in a "permanent housing" situation, the person not only must pay rent but also meet other requirements as placed on them by the organization.  Failure to meet these other obligations can lead to eviction.  Therefore the "permanent" part is an illusion - so is any sense of real independence.

The phrase "permanent housing" is language manipulated to make the situation sound better than it really is.  It is a way for the homeless industry to appear as though it has solved homelessness.   Actually it is glorified shelter living made permanent.

Sometimes, though, when someone says "permanent housing", they are really referring to permanent supportive housing.

The last time I had a place to live, it was part of Nashville's poorly designed "Housing First" program - although, come to think if it, I don't think the city actually called it that.   Many agencies were involved and to qualify I had to jump through all the hoops these many different agencies set up.  At one point even my Senator had to be called-in to get the deal finished.   Once I had the place, an SRO in a small building full of other homeless people, not only did I have to pay a monthly rent, I had to constantly be in conformity with standards set by two different agencies - HUD's Section 8 program, and with the company which owned  the building I lived in.   The landlord was receiving many different grants from different government and charitable agencies, so I had to allow my landlord to use my personal information in qualifying for these grants - even though I did not personally benefit from them.   My income, my living situation, everything about me was inspected, and if I was not within expected grant parameters I could have been evicted.    With my anxiety issues, this process was always difficult and stressful.  After 5 years of it, I'd had enough.  I stopped participating, and was evicted.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Housing The Homeless Blah Blah Blah

The more I look into it, and the more I think about it, the more disgusted I become with the word "housing" when it comes to homelessness.   Seriously, enough already.

If people are not actually talking about houses when they discuss "housing the homeless" you know, the real single family dwelling with bedrooms and a living room and a kitchen and a garage and a yard and a driveway, etc., then they really should come up with another term besides "housing".

Trying to pretty up the situation by prettying up the language just makes you a liar.   It's time for everyone to know that when "housing" is mentioned in regard to homeless people, what they are really talking about is the warehousing of people - you know, shelters - the place where homeless people are stored away, out of sight and hopefully out of mind.

Still, homeless people are more people than homeless, and they deserve more respect than society current affords them.

If society is going to treat people who happen to homeless as if they are things to be stored away, then society should just admit as much.   Lets deal with the reality of the situation.  It's the only way to really fix things.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

That Wacky Homeless Power Project of Nashville

They up and took over an abandoned house. You can see some pictures of the event.

The next day, they were evicted. Read the following description of the event:

The Tennessean
Homeless advocates marched to a vacant house near Dickerson Road on Wednesday and helped Howard Allen Jr., a homeless man, move into the three-bedroom home.

For months, Allen had been sleeping on a bench at the bus stop behind the Sommet Center in downtown Nashville.

After setting up a makeshift bed in the federal Housing and Urban Development residence on Flamingo Drive, the man said, "My brain has a sanctuary and now my body has a sanctuary.''

But five hours later, Metro Police forced Allen and other homeless representatives off the property. Allen and two other people were cited for trespassing.

"Time has worn thin for talking and no action," said Allen, who has served on several homeless commissions. "I'm willing to go to jail for this."

Homeless advocates maintain that it makes sense for the homeless to move into the publicly funded building rather than allowing it to sit empty.

The nonprofit Nashville Homeless Power Project used a mid-day march to make the point. About 40 homeless advocates left the Metro Courthouse on James Robertson Parkway and walked to the house, where police were directing traffic but did not immediately intervene.

Later, Pyramid Real Estate Services, which is trying to sell the home for HUD, asked police to remove them.

Organization officials say they've already taken over a dozen vacant HUD homes in Davidson County, but this was the first time they made their intentions public.

"It's a point we appreciate, but we don't advocate breaking the law to do it,'' said Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD in Washington, D.C. He said the home is for sale, and that as long as it's occupied it can't be sold.

Allen said he had sent an application and a check to HUD to legitimize his occupation of the home, and that he intended to pay more as he continues in his new temp agency job.

He says he has a criminal record stemming from a voter fraud conviction, a nonviolent felony, and says that makes it difficult for him and other offenders to get housing.

"I've messed up but I've paid my debts. I was a failure and now I'm a success,'' he said.

Between January 2007 and January 2008, the number of homeless men and women sleeping outdoors in Nashville grew about 19 percent, from 390 to 466, according to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority.

Homeless advocate Cheri Honkala, began doing housing takeovers 20 years ago in Minnesota. She and her son were living in their car but the makeshift home was totaled in an accident.

"It was that day we had to make a decision: Move forward and take over an abandoned house or stay on the street and freeze to death," said Honkala, who works with homeless advocates across the nation.

Honkal was cited along with Allen and Jeannie Alexander, program director for the Nashville organization.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It Is So Quiet In Here

Ducks in a row. Last qualifying meeting, of many, was completed this morning. And at the meeting I was told that the unit I am to move into, was inspected by HUD this morning. A couple days ago I was told that I could move in once the place passed inspection. I was also earlier told that HUD would not be inspecting until Friday, or Monday.

That does put a fire under ya, wanting the process to hurry up, and finally finish, so I can move in.

I haven't had a place of my own since January of 2005.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Email Recieved This Morning

MDHA has scheduled the briefing for tomorrow (Thursday 4/24/08) at 8:00. Either Julia or I will plan to meet you there. Belinda at UHS expects MDHA to inspect your apartment either Friday or Monday. If it passes inspection, she said you can move in the same day.

Don’t forget to take your medicine today!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Fought The Boar And The Boar Won

I've been told that when I snore, it sounds like I am wrestling a wild boar. Well, last night, the boar won. I woke up at least 5 times during the night. And what sleep I got, was not productive sleep. So, now I'm here at Panera Bread, falling asleep as I scan the Internet. And I hear myself snoring, so I wake myself up. Sure, there are other people around me, and no doubt the people around me are hearing it too. It's a little embarrassing. I do have some money coming, and if it comes today, I'm going to get myself a cheap motel for a night and try to get some more better sleep - at least sleep in as late as I can. and rest.

I am meeting with my case manager again today - we meet at least once a week. We'll be talking about qualifying me for some kind of disability related financial aid so to help pay for my eventual housing. That should be fun. I'll have to confess things I don't really like talking about.