Group meets to begin Section 8 review
First in a series of private and public gatherings
In accordance with a settlement worked out between the city of Lancaster, The Community Action League (TCAL) and the NAACP regarding Section 8 Housing, community activists held an informal gathering Tuesday to begin discussing how to implement an agreement that will enable all parties to work together to deal with problems within the program.
Called the Community Working Group, the purpose of the organization is to identify issues of concern to residents, and then to begin to develop proposals and initiatives to work on these concerns.
Additionally, the Community Working Group is to help the city identify ordinances or regulations related to rental housing, housing development, land use zoning or public safety that are causing an unjust and disparate impact on Section 8 tenants or landlords.
The group is also tasked with the duty of reviewing proposed laws and ordinances in the above areas to ensure that they do not negatively impact Section 8 tenants and landlords.
The decision to create the Community Working Group was part of an agreement forged between the three parties that resulted in the dismissal of a lawsuit against the city by TCAL and the NAACP.
The group will consist of no more than seven members, and according to incoming NAACP president V. Jesse Smith, the group expects to officially announce its membership makeup, the next steps and future public meetings following the holidays.
The Lancaster City Council is expected to vote on Dec. 11 on whether to appoint Cassandra D. Harvey to the council to replace Ron Smith, who was elected to the California State Assembly.
If approved, Harvey would be sworn in and take the seat that day and finish out the remainder of Smith’s term until April 2014.
She would also be the first African American woman to sit on the city’s governing body.
Harvey was nominated by Mayor R. Rex Parris.
PALMDALE, Calif.—The Community Action League, a civil rights organization native to the Antelope Valley, has been hard on the issue of Section 8 for the past year or so. Last week, the organization held a forum, helping outraged residents share stories of what they felt was discrimination in their publicly funded homes.
Since TCAL, along with the NAACP, filed a lawsuit against the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, more people have come forward with stories that include police brutality and civil rights violations.
PALMDALE—An agreement reached in a discrimination lawsuit between city officials and representatives of Antelope Valley residents who are part of the Section 8 Choice Voucher program is now in the hands of the federal judge overseeing the suit.
The agreement was reached last week, a week after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a similar agreement.
The judge will now have an opportunity to vet the settlements, and when approved, they will go into effect immediately.
African Americans are the third largest ethnic group in the city of Lancaster. At 19.2 percent of the population (29,263 people), they trail Whites (56.5 percent) and Hispanics (36.5 percent).
Like Black communities around the nation, Lancaster residents experience highs that they applaud and challenges they feel need addressing. As the April 10 elections draw closer, some key community leaders spoke out about what they want from the candidates.
The Antelope Valley has been battered by negative press regarding complaints of discrimination and abuse of power on part of authorities in Section 8 housing. A lawsuit was filed by a local organization, The Community Action League (TCAL) in conjunction with the local chapter of the NAACP brought the concerns to light.
Since the issue was made public, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors decided to suspend funding for Section 8 investigators for both Palmdale and Lancaster until a thorough investigation was completed.