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Tonight's Agenda - Item F4: Community Relocation Fund

From: domainremoved <Meg>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 20:42:08 +0000

Hi City Council Members-

I am hoping to attend tonight’s City Council meeting, but have a few conflicts with carpooling my children throughout the evening so am fearful I may miss the exact time to register public comment. Therefore, I wanted to make sure and register my comments (which are mine and not the official position of the Housing Commission) with you in writing.

In an effort to keep it simple, I am listing below my specific comments to the proposal:

  1. I think that at a minimum the assistance should be available to those that the ordinance helps…so families/individuals earning at or below 80% AMI at a minimum. This is not only for consistency sake, but also for basic decency. 50% AMI is just too low (80% AMI is too), but at least 80% will help those that the ordinance helps as well.
  2. This assistance should NOT go to landlords. I feel that it is absolutely inappropriate to use public funds or funds administered by a public entity to subsidize landlord rent increases. They are already benefiting from a watered-down tenant relocation ordinance that isn’t limiting their rent increases. So, why would the City provide assistance to them to do as well? It makes no sense.
  3. The rent increase mechanism should be CPI + 5%. This is the gold standard for rent gouging.
  4. The assistance should be as we proposed in the Housing Commission’s version of the ordinance. 3 months for all households and 4 months for special needs households. No term of tenancy should be observed. Please remember this is a homeless prevention measure and we shouldn’t allocate assistance based on worthiness linked to length of tenancy.
  5. The assistance should go directly to the tenant and not the new landlord. I understand the worry here, but realistically, most people who are displaced won’t have new homes that quickly. I think this assistance may be used for temporary housing while looking for a new, permanent one. I don’t want the lack of a new landlord to prevent somebody from receiving assistance that they may very well need to cover a motel room to keep their family sheltered.
  6. I am concerned about the actual origination and continued funding of this assistance. Per Section 6.1 of Exhibit A (Community Housing Fund Program Guidelines), it states nobody will be entitled payment and that the amount and funding hasn’t been identified. I understood that agreements for funding were already “basically” secured. Right now, it sounds like nothing has been secured. I hope that the City will seed the fund, but I think it is critical to get funds from the local business and landlord community per what was represented. I would like to see language in the addendum that speaks to that and its continued seeding until the displacement crisis abates.

A final note….I was extremely disappointed with the final decision on the. The glee on the landlords faces as I left the Council Chambers two weeks ago was extremely upsetting. The irony is that most of them would have not been impacted. But, people being displaced will continue to be. I was also disappointed that the Housing Commission wasn’t given better guidance on this. If the Council knew this was a no-go, we should have been alerted. We (and many others in the community) spent a lot of time working on this and it is incredibly discouraging to find that all that time and energy was for naught. Given all this, I beg you to make this fund real and impactful. Please don’t check a box and make it a inconsequential fund (with funding only from the City) that is inaccessible to a very few. I beg you to consider my comments above seriously and to care for those in our community that need our help and consideration.

Thank you for your consideration.

Meg McGraw-Scherer
Chair, Menlo Park Housing Commission
Meg McGraw-Scherer
Senior Housing Finance Consultant/
Peninsula Director
California Housing Partnership

T: (415) 433-6804 x315 (Tues – Thurs) |
(415) 279-5124 (Mon & Fri)
369 Pine Street, Suite 300 | San Francisco, CA 94104
www.chpc.net<x-msg://287/www.chpc.net> | _at_(domainremoved)

Received on Tue Mar 12 2019 - 13:37:55 PDT

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