By Lynda Carson
In a celebration of the privatization of our public housing, which threatens the poor, elderly and disabled with displacement from their housing, on Oct. 14, Mayor Ed Lee was joined by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Board of Supervisors President London Breed, to highlight Phase 1 of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD) in San Francisco.
The RAD program is a $1.69 billion transformation plan to privatize 4,584 of San Francisco’s public housing units.
Meanwhile, in contrast to the hoopla and razzle dazzle of Mayor Lee and company to hoodwink the public into believing that privatizing public housing is a good thing, an Oct. 7 letter from Congresswoman Maxine Waters to Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general, of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), calls for more protections for public housing, and public housing tenants, who are being threatened by the RAD public housing privatization program.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters is ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.
In the letter, Congresswoman Waters expressed many concerns about the nature of the RAD program, which will privatize 185,000 of 1.2 million existing public housing units nationwide, if the program is implemented as directed.
“I request that the GAO examine if and how the RAD program is operating to achieve the stated goals that RAD was enacted to accomplish,” wrote Waters.
In the recent past, Rep. Waters denounced the RAD program and sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to reconsider the program because she believes that it will do more harm than good.
Congresswoman Waters’ critical questions about the privatization of public housing under the RAD program are not being asked by the supporters of the RAD program, including Mayor Lee.
Clearly, Congresswoman Waters’ concerns over the rush to privatize public housing needs to be heard across the nation, despite the efforts of Mayor Ed Lee and others to ignore her.
To read the letter from Congresswoman Maxine Waters to the GAO, go to http://tinyurl.com/ofs637m