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Affordable Housing Demand Reduction Plan

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

Do you think the City will actually work on this?

yes
2
29%
no
5
71%
 
Total votes : 7

Affordable Housing Demand Reduction Plan

Postby Greg Markle » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:16 am

Way back when, when I was alder, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for staff to create an Affordable Housing Demand Reduction Plan. The premise behind this is that the City should attack the need for affordable housing from both the supply (helping more affordable housing get built) and the demand side.

The report back from staff of the Community Services and Community Development Block Grant divisions is now over one year over due. I understanding that time constraints have made it difficult for staff to create the plan so I want to help. Here is a plan that took me all of one hour to create:

1. Track Section 8 housing residents and encourage residents to use community resources that may help them gain job skills so they can reach adequate incomes to leave section 8 housing. Currently, the City has closed its waiting list for people to get in line to get Section 8 housing. That is how much demand is outstripping supply. By tracking how long people stay in Section 8 housing you can create a benchmark from which to measure future efforts. Then you start telling residents of Section 8 Housing about community resources that can help them gain employment so they can reach income levels to leave Section 8 housing so another person in need can use this resource. Total cost to the City is at the most $5,000 to track residency and provide information on resources.

2. Provide free bus passes for individuals in low-cost housing to access job training feasibilities. This will enable folks in impoverished areas such as Allied Drive to access resources such as MATC more easily. The cost to the city is minimal as most of these would be new trips on existing routes.

3. Include in neighborhood centers contracts to receive City funding that a certain amount of space or programming is dedicated to assisting people gain or improve employment. This could be done through job fairs, employability skills training, literacy education, or education fairs. Many neighborhood Centers do these but some don't. No additional cost to the city.

4. CDBG and Community Services work together to assess what resources are best suited to improve a community and perhaps targeting particular communities. A good example is Allied Drive: CDBG is expending resources to assist in building new apartments and then looking at turning current apartments into condos. How should community services funding for low-cost childcare respond? Was this included in the discussion? This creates a better use of all resources.

This is a simple four-step plan. Perhaps with imput from City staff this could be a much better plan. If I could come up with this in one hour, I am sure they could do much better in two or three hours.

Or, if the City really is not willing to look at the demand side of this issue, will someone please pass a resolution rescinding the previous resolution.

Thank you,

Greg Markle
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:38 am

Care to put a fiscal note on your plan?
Care to round up some sponsors?
What are the sponsors of the resolution to create a plan doing to help get the study done?
How many units will your plan save us from creating or providing?
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Postby Greg Markle » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:06 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:Care to put a fiscal note on your plan?
Care to round up some sponsors?
What are the sponsors of the resolution to create a plan doing to help get the study done?
How many units will your plan save us from creating or providing?


Fiscal Note: Please read each point in the plan for what I would estimate as the fiscal note. My estimate is approximately $5,000. Of course, as you know, City staff is actually charged with including a fiscal note.

Rounding up sponsors: What do you think I am doing. Are you willing to sponsor this plan Brenda?

What are the sponsors of the resolution doing: Good question. The lead sponsor (me) retired. The other ones probably should be doing more. They may have falsely assumed that if you pass a resolution asking for staff to do something than staff is supposed to do it. I do wonder who should be holding staff responsible for following this. Is it the sponsoring alders? Is it the Mayor? Is this a legal issue of the staff not following city laws? Do you have an idea on how to get staff to follow a resolution passed unanimously by the City Council? Can they just say no like they seem to be doing with out consequence?

How many units: The first item concerning Section 8 housing creates a benchmark to measure results. All together, a conservative estimation is that this plan would help 450 families attain the necessary incomes and services to leave subsidized housing. (50 from resource information to Section 8 folks, 150 from the bussing, 250 from the programming in the neighborhood centers.) All of these could easily be measured by tracking participants. Again, staff could probably come up with a much better estimate if they worked on this.
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:27 am

Greg Markle wrote:Fiscal Note: Please read each point in the plan for what I would estimate as the fiscal note. My estimate is approximately $5,000. Of course, as you know, City staff is actually charged with including a fiscal note.


Are you nuts?

For $5,000 you could only pay for 3,333 bus rides. If you assume it takes at least 10 trips to find a job (and I assume it many more than that) and that 333 people who find jobs . . . what is the likelihood that these jobs are going to provide wages that get people out of poverty? Just like that? It's just that simple?


Greg Markle wrote:Rounding up sponsors: What do you think I am doing. Are you willing to sponsor this plan Brenda?

Definitely need more details and a better fiscal note . . . why don't you get the co-sponsors of the study to sponsor it - you know there's 7 votes waiting for you if you answer a few more questions . . . start with the hard votes.

Greg Markle wrote:What are the sponsors of the resolution doing: Good question. The lead sponsor (me) retired. The other ones probably should be doing more. They may have falsely assumed that if you pass a resolution asking for staff to do something than staff is supposed to do it. I do wonder who should be holding staff responsible for following this. Is it the sponsoring alders? Is it the Mayor? Is this a legal issue of the staff not following city laws? Do you have an idea on how to get staff to follow a resolution passed unanimously by the City Council? Can they just say no like they seem to be doing with out consequence?

Sigh . . . believe me, I had to push, pull, drag, scream, yell etc to get several things through city staff and the mayor's office . . . I have no idea what we do. The worst has been TIF and I think that's the mayor's office. Even the local purchasing that we asked for a report back by June 20th the EDC sat on the resolution and it hasn't even passed the council yet, so the staff won't work on the report until that happens, which is absurd. It's simple, if staff don't want to do something, or the mayor doesn't want them to do it, or if someone isn't pushing them . . . they've got so much work to do it quickly slips off the radar screen. And, I hate to say it, but I think you were the only one who was doing this in earnest, I don't think the rest of the sponsors thought this was anything more than a political ploy.

Greg Markle wrote:How many units: The first item concerning Section 8 housing creates a benchmark to measure results. All together, a conservative estimation is that this plan would help 450 families attain the necessary incomes and services to leave subsidized housing. (50 from resource information to Section 8 folks, 150 from the bussing, 250 from the programming in the neighborhood centers.) All of these could easily be measured by tracking participants. Again, staff could probably come up with a much better estimate if they worked on this.

Ummmm . . . you do realize that many of these folks are on SSDI or SSI and can't work . . . . right? The fiscal note for all these services was only $5,000? Greg, you know better than that. The problem is much more complex - you going to provide alcohol and drug treatment and mental health services and childcare for the kids and services for the high needs kids and whatever else these families need - it will cost millions.

You know, I've watched someone get a job and get off the W-2 program and its twice as hard for this single person now that she pays $20 co-pay for her multiple perscriptions every month instead of $1 and she pays a higher share of her daycare (and pays for all the extra costs of fieldtrips etc) and doesn't get food stamps, and has to put gas in her car, I'm not sure she's in a better position . . . $10 or $11 per hour ($20,800 - $22,880) in this town is very difficult for a single mom and a kid to live on . . . they're probably still going to need that housing subsidy.
Last edited by Brenda Konkel on Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Affordable Housing Demand Reduction Plan

Postby Brenda Konkel » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:38 am

Greg- your fiscal note is insane . . .

RE: Section 8 - there is no money for staff time to do this extra work. The way it is they are getting cut by the feds. And as I asked earlier, do you really think these people just need information and they can just find the magical job that will bring them out of poverty? Also, the "City" doesn't pay for the CDA staff, the Federal Government does. $5,000 won't even cover printing and mailing costs.

RE: Bus Passes - last year we put $40,000 in the budget for "Trasit for Jobs" program for the homeless. This was not free.

RE: Neighborhood Centers - Have you been to one lately? See any spare staff sitting around that have time to just whip up a new program? Who's goin to coordinate that job fair? Create a literacy education program and find volunteers and coordinate all that? You think these staff can just add this to the over 40 hours they already work in these centers?

RE: CDBG and Community Services work together to assess what resources are best suited to improve a community and perhaps targeting particular communities.

Um . . . they were counting on a 3% COLA increase for the services they provide now, but now have to cut 3%. Programs are closing down, services are being reduced, new programs can't be started cuz there is no money. I sit on the Early Childcare and Education Baord and that was a grumsome meeting yesterday. We're asking the mayor for $142,000 supplemental to just fund core things that need to be done . . . that we know of, the needs are crushing, the funds are shrinking and the community is suffering. I'd invite you to sit in on some of those meetings and see how difficult these decisions are - we've worked on it for hours and there are no easy answers. They set priorities, the council approved them and we tried to follow them and they had devasting effects.
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Postby Greg Markle » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:01 am

Fiscal note:

Tracking length of stay in Section 8 would require a simple spreadsheat with the time someone moved in and when they moved out and an average function to get a total. (Limited costs to set it up) Supplying information on resources -- some coppying and mailing. Maybe a little more than $5000 a year but not huge and easily figured.

The bus rides would not be to apply for jobs but to job training and resource centers such as the Job Center, MATC and the Literacy Council. New rides on existing routes so no real cost to the tax payers.

Having neighborhood centers include employment based programming as part of their existing contracts is no cost to the city.

CDBG and Community Services working together in planning is something that will likely save the city resources.

Where do you see the additional costs Brenda?


Greg Markle wrote:Rounding up sponsors: What do you think I am doing. Are you willing to sponsor this plan Brenda?

Definitely need more details and a better fiscal note . . . why don't you get the co-sponsors of the study to sponsor it - you know there's 7 votes waiting for you if you answer a few more questions . . . start with the hard votes..[/quote]

Please let me know where you see additional costs that are not included in the above fiscal note.

Please let me know what more details you need.

I always thought that if you believed in something you would sponsor it Brenda rather than saying "talk to someone else"

You are right this issue needs a champion on the council. I put it on the daily page looking for that person. It would be great if it were you.

I'm not saying any of this is easy. I realize many folks in Section 8 or other subsidized housing have multiple issues or are on SSI or SSDI. But there are others who simply don't have the skills needed to gain decent work. I have seen many gain these skills and leave poverty behind forever. This simple plan provides more avenues for them. If we can help many of them move from subsidized housing it can reduce demand.
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Postby Greg Markle » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:14 am

So the other option is to pour another 10M into the next Allied Drive for housing like we are doing with this one? Just like we did for Broadway Simpson. Are we closer to fixing the affordable housing problem yet? Are the people in affordable housing living better lives?

If you listen to the residents of Allied Drive, they aren't asking for new housing they are asking for a way to earn enough to get out of their existing housing.

Because there are budget constraints we need to look at new options not simply where to cut current programming.
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:46 pm

greg - forgive me for being cautious . . . but its the details that kill plans like yours and it would likely be another two years of my life fighting the folks on the council simply because it is my idea . . . so it would be alot easier, if someone else brought these ideas forward, got others to co-sponsor and it was not controversial. preferably, someone who was a sponsor of the study . . . this council is full of people who like to tell you what is wrong with your proposal but don't bring forward any of their own . . .

And yes, if you start talking to the departments involved, your fiscal note is WAY OFF. I could send emails to each of the departments asking them their opinion . . . but I'm sure you won't like the answer. Its' simply not as simple as you are making it sound.

Lets see if I can get some responses . . . but really, one of the sponsors of the study should do this . . .
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Sat Jul 22, 2006 11:19 pm

Here's a response from the CDA regarding your proposal on Section 8 . . .

Passing out a brochure on resources is one thing. Providing full blown
job counseling services, resource refereral is another. The needs of low
income indvividuals can vary dramatically from education, to drug or
family counseling, skills training etc, child care, etc. Providing
information to programs with long waiting lists or a one time annual
referal will probably not yield much result. Also many elderly and
mentally and physically disabled are not going leave after a short
period of time allowing others in their place. The Section 8 program is
funded at a level which simply allows us to qualify/certify people for
housing assistance based on local and federal guidelines. It is
unfortunately not funded to pull them out of low income status and into
self sufficiency. We would welcome the funding to do so, or the ability
to refer them to the resources that could meet all of their needs
however $5,000 would not be sufficient.
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Postby Stu Levitan » Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:50 am

Of course, if county supersedes city's administration of sec 8, CDA may get out of sec 8 business entirely, and let DCHA administer program county-wide. So this whole thread may be doubly moot.
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:59 am

Stu Levitan wrote:Of course, if county supersedes city's administration of sec 8, CDA may get out of sec 8 business entirely, and let DCHA administer program county-wide. So this whole thread may be doubly moot.


What are you talking about?

If you're talking about the new Dane County Fair Housing Proposal - it has nothing to do with the administration of the Section 8 program - it's a fair housing issue.

You know better.
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Postby Stu Levitan » Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:13 am

What do you mean it has nothing to do with Sec 8 administration? It has everything to do with that -- mandating that all landlords with rent-appropriate property, anywhere in the county, including city of Madison, be required to become contractees of federal government as Sec 8 providers. That was the substance of the press release you sent around last week, no? And if the county supervisors -- who, to my understanding, didn't bother to talk to either DCHA or CDA staffs or boards before they introduced their ordinance amendment -- believe they can do a better job administering Sec 8, I'm inclined to give them that opportunity. Of course, that would mean higher personnel costs for DCHA, but, hey, gotta walk it like you talk it.

(BTW, you do understand, of course, that the county proposal will likely increase the cost of housing, as providers realize that by raising their rents, their properties can go outside the fair market rent limits for Sec 8 eligibility. You do agree that can and will happen, don't you? Just one of the many unintended consequences....)
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:56 pm

Stu Levitan wrote:What do you mean it has nothing to do with Sec 8 administration? It has everything to do with that -- mandating that all landlords with rent-appropriate property, anywhere in the county, including city of Madison, be required to become contractees of federal government as Sec 8 providers.


The CDA and DCHA has a shrinking number of vouchers, there are already hundreds of landlords participating in the program. How does it effect the adminstration of the program is more/new landlords participate? Isn't that the goal of the program? What's the big deal?

Stu Levitan wrote:That was the substance of the press release you sent around last week, no?

Wow, forward a housing related press release to a housing list and become responsible for everything in it?

Stu Levitan wrote: And if the county supervisors -- who, to my understanding, didn't bother to talk to either DCHA or CDA staffs or boards before they introduced their ordinance amendment -- believe they can do a better job administering Sec 8, I'm inclined to give them that opportunity. Of course, that would mean higher personnel costs for DCHA, but, hey, gotta walk it like you talk it.

You got a problem take it up with Ashok and the other supervisors . . . I am not their keeper.

Stu Levitan wrote:(BTW, you do understand, of course, that the county proposal will likely increase the cost of housing, as providers realize that by raising their rents, their properties can go outside the fair market rent limits for Sec 8 eligibility. You do agree that can and will happen, don't you? Just one of the many unintended consequences....)


I'm certain I don't need to explain to you that legally, this would be as illegal as refusing to accept Section 8 if the ordinance passes. Clearly, you understand the concepts of disparate impact and disparate treatment.

Finally, simply because a few landlords are going to try to find loopholes in anti-discrimination laws to continue to discriminate and withold viable housing options from low-income people should we simply stop trying to assist low income people in having as many housing options as we can?
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Postby Greg Markle » Sun Jul 23, 2006 10:41 pm

It is interesting that CDA says that there could be little impact on the length of stay of people in section 8 when to the best of my knowledge they don't even track or are able to supply information on the average stay of someone in section 8 housing.
Let alone being able to provide data on subsets such as those getting SSI or laid off from work.

The most telling part of their answer is that they see this program as a stand alone housing provider with no connection to whether folks ever move from poverty and free up this limited resource.

I will admit that the plan I presented was small compared to the need. My point was I could come up with something in 1 hour and they have not even had a brainstorming session on this in over 1 year.

Thank you for digging a little for me brenda. Did they say when working on this plan might be on their calendar? Perhaps a strong mayor could push them towards actually following a very straight forward directive from council. Sounds like a campaign plank for someone.
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Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:48 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:Sigh . . . believe me, I had to push, pull, drag, scream, yell etc to get several things through city staff and the mayor's office . . . I have no idea what we do.


Well, if it's CDA staff either one of you is having trouble with, I would hope you would talk to me.
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