Section 8 legislation sought for Lancaster
Panel studies way to handle truancy
LANCASTER, Calif.—The Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commission (LNVC), an advisory committee dedicated to addressing housing issues in the city, has organized a subcommittee to address the issue of truancy in Section 8 housing.
The Lancaster City Council and the LNVC came to the conclusion that such truancy is a problem as 2010 came to an end.
Mayor R. Rex Parris asked Dorian Jenkins, deputy executive director of housing programs with the Community Development Commission of the county, if Section 8 vouchers could legally be revoked from residents whose children are truant from school. The mayor explained that such a law would benefit the community as a whole, forcing parents in public housing to keep their children in school, and punishing parents—and consequently whole families—if a child is truant.
However, since its formation, no recommendations have been made.
In fact, neither the city nor any outside entity can make any changes to the federally funded program. In other words, a federal law must be enacted for Lancaster’s desire to be fulfilled.
“They’ve made requests of us to administer the program in different ways,” Jenkins commented last year. “We’ve responded to them that we are governed by the federal government and we are required to administer the program in accordance to the federal government.”
Since Parris introduced the idea, the commission has been researching the parameters by which a law can possibly be instituted.
Mark Bozigian, city manager, had little to say about possible Section 8 legislation. However, he did say that the commission is meeting and will soon make a recommendation.
“The [sub]commission allows the [LNVC] to explore outside of regular meetings… As of this time, they have not made a recommendation, but they are developing a recommendation presumably on the task of forming legislation on Section 8.”
Parris designated the group (formerly called the Section 8 commission) in 2008 to address the issues within public housing. But a year after its formation, the city changed the name and purpose.
Since the LNVC’s genesis, Section 8 has been on the tip of every commissioner’s tongue, although the city claims its focus is the whole community. However, housing activists and local residents believe Lancaster is stepping outside its boundaries and is beginning to show its true colors, especially since the whole community is not represented on the commission.
The LNVC is made up of seven individuals, including one female. There are neither any Section 8 tenants nor ethnic minorities on the commission.
Currently on the board is Chairman Tim Sturtevant, a 30-year veteran of the San Diego Housing Commission; Vice Chairman Steven Darryberry, an attorney; Operations Manager of the AV Air Quality Management District, Bret Banks; Lisa Moulton, an office manager for State Senator George Runner; Larry Grooms, district director for Assemblyman Steve Knight; Lew Stults, a former employee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and David Sinclair, a realtor.
The LNVC meets every first Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Lancaster City Hall Council Chambers, located at 44933 North Fern Ave. The public is encouraged to attend.
The Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commission (LNVC) approved seven winning projects for the third annual UNITE (Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort) program at its August meeting. The UNITE community projects, which focus on strengthening community ties, beautifying, and enhancing public safety in local neighborhoods, will take place Saturday, Sept. 22.
LANCASTER, Calif.—At last week’s Lancaster City Council meeting, Mayor R. Rex Parris asked Dorian Jenkins, deputy executive director of housing programs with the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles, if there was a way to confiscate Section 8 vouchers from tenants who did not enroll their children in school. He asked Jenkins if he would look into federal enforcement of state laws requiring children to attend school. Parris said that it would be beneficial for the whole community.
The city of Lancaster is now accepting applications for the fourth annual Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort (UNITE) program.
Applications for the UNITE program are available on the city’s website at www.cityoflancasterca.org/unite and must be submitted by Friday, June 14 at 5 p.m. (postmark dates will not be accepted).
The program, which aims to help build safer and stronger neighborhoods, offers residents an opportunity to propose neighborhood improvement projects and compete for the resources and funding needed to make those projects a reality.
The Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commission will launch the third annual Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort (UNITE) program with an applicant information session at the El Dorado Town Hall meeting on Thursday, May 24. The UNITE program provides residents with a forum to propose neighborhood improvement projects and compete for the resources and funding needed to bring these projects to fruition.
LANCASTER, Calif.—It’s official. The cities of Lancaster and Palmdale are being sued by community members and Section 8 residents for alleged discrimination against Blacks and Latinos in public housing.
According to the complaint filed Tuesday by the Community Action League and the NAACP, as well as two private members of the community, the cities named have discriminated against Section 8 families by implementing policies that directly affect the living quality of Blacks and Latinos.