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Guidebooks and Reports
The National Housing Law Project publishes guidebooks on the operation and implementation of various federally assisted housing and housing related programs. A description of currently available guidebooks follows. All of the guidebooks listed are available for downloading, although some are restricted to members of the Housing Justice Network.
From Urban Renewal and Displacement to Economic Inclusion: San Francisco Affordable Housing Policy 1978-2012, by Marcia Rosen and Wendy Sullivan. National Housing Law Project and Poverty and Race Research Action Council. 2012, 62 pp.
Once notorious for urban renewal that diminished housing affordability and displaced residents, San Francisco is now renowned nationally for its best practices in housing and community development. This report traces how this “hot market” city with limited land for development, extremely low rental vacancy rates and high demand for housing moved from archaic urban renewal practices to thoughtful policies designed to preserve and enhance housing opportunities for low income families, prevent displacement of low income families, and create inclusive communities. It demonstrates the role that sustained community organizing has played in changing the face of city government from one controlled by business interests into one responsive to neighborhoods and residents.
Support for this report was provided by the San Francisco Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
A published review of the report from Shelter Force is available.
Domestic Violence and Housing: A Manual and Toolkit for California Advocates (2009).
Many survivors of domestic violence face eviction or are denied access to housing because of criminal acts of their abusers. Domestic Violence and Housing: A Manual and Toolkit for California Advocates provides a comprehensive review of survivors’ rights in applying for housing, improving the safety of rental housing, and defending against evictions and subsidy terminations. It also contains a number of sample advocacy documents, including letters, pleadings, and housing policies.
Primary support for the Manual was provided by the Blue Shield of California Foundation.
An Affordable Home on Reentry: Federally Assisted Housing and Previously Incarcerated Individuals (2008).
This guide discusses the rights and interests of previously incarcerated individuals to access and remain in public and federally assisted housing. The guide cites to statutes, regulations and cases and includes sample pleadings. Electronically zipped copies of the guide are available for downloading. Hard copies of the guide are available from NHLP for a $25 shipping and handling charge. Please submit an order for a hard copy by completing the Order Form.
Advocating for Higher Utility Allowances in Federally Subsidized Housing: A Practical Guide (2007).
Tenants in most federally assisted and public housing who pay their own utilities are supposed to be provided with a utility allowance to cover reasonable utility costs. As utility rates have skyrocketed in recent years, many subsidized owners have failed to make corresponding increases in their utility allowances, leaving tenants to unfairly shoulder the costs. This guide, written by NHLP and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, helps advocates identify, develop and litigate basic cases where allowances have not been updated to account for recent significant rate increases. The Guide’s appendices include spreadsheets to ease the pain of required calculations, sample information and demand requests, and pleadings. The Utility Allowance Guide is only available to members of the Housing Justice Network.
An Advocate’s Guide to the HUD Section 3 Program: Creating Jobs and Economic Opportunity (2009).
The HUD Section 3 program requires recipients of federally assisted housing and community development funds, such as public housing agencies and cities, and their contractors to ensure that 30% of newly hired employees are low-income persons, especially low-income residents of federally assisted housing. In addition, such recipients must also commit to allocate at least 10% of building trade contracts and 3% of all other contracts to businesses controlled by low-income persons or low-income residents of federally assisted housing, or to businesses that employ such individuals. The Section 3 program is especially important in light of the fact that funding under the recently created Neighborhood Stabilization Program is subject to Section 3. The Advocates’ Guide reviews the scope and history of the Section 3 program and discusses how the three branches of the federal government have historically responded to the program. The guide also discusses what steps recipient agencies can take to successfully implement and improve upon their Section 3 programs and how local advocates can work with these agencies to achieve the program’s goals.
Challenging Conversions of Federally Assisted Housing (2003).
This guide provides basic information for addressing the threatened conversion of privately owned HUD-subsidized and Section 8 assisted developments. It includes specific suggestions for action steps that housing advocates and public interest lawyers can take when addressing the conversion threat in their community or at a particular property. Challenging Conversions of Federally Assisted Housing is only available to members of the Housing Justice Network.
Challenging Conversions of Federally Assisted Housing in California (2001).
Challenging Conversions of Federally Assisted Housing in California is based on the federal version of the guide. It, however, includes specific information about California resources, non-profits and laws designed to preserve federally assisted housing in the state. This guide is only available to members of the Housing Justice Network.
Advocates' Guide: Restructuring (2003).
This guide describes the Mark to Market restructuring process for advocates working with tenant organizations. It provides background on the program and a description of what advocates need to know to get started working on properties subject to Mark-to-Market review. The guide is divided into three parts: 1) how to prepare for outreach to properties, select properties and gather resources to help, 2) what to do at each step in the restructuring process to assure effective tenant participation, and 3) the shortened process for Mark-to-Market Lite. Also included are appendices with such items as a check list, flow chart,glossary and sample tenant survey. The Advocates Guide: Restructuring, is only available to members of the Housing Justice Network.
Save Your Home! (1991).
Save Your Home, written by Kiko Denzer and Alice Warner and distributed by NHLP, is geared to tenants of federally assisted housing and gives them an overview of preservation laws intended to protect federally assisted housing from conversion to other uses and residents from displacement. It describes what tenants can do to protect their homes.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Take Control!: Residents' Guide to the First 9 Months of the Title VI Program (1991).
On Your Mark, Get Set, Take Control, written by Kiko Denzer and Jim Grow, an NHLP attorney, is also geared to tenants of federally assisted housing. It explains in greater detail the federal preservation laws affecting HUD subsidized housing and explains the tenant’s role and options when an owner seeks to terminate participation in the federal housing
False HOPE: A Critical Assessment of the HOPE VI Public Housing Redevelopment Program (June 2002)
False HOPE: A Critical Assessment of the HOPE VI Public Housing Redevelopment Program highlights numerous shortcomings in the HOPE VI program and outlines policy recommendations for reform. False HOPE is meant to contribute to the on-going debate regarding the program’s reauthorization.
HOPE VI has been characterized by a lack of clear standards, a lack of hard data on program results, and misleading and contradictory statements made by HUD. HUD’s failure to provide comprehensive and accurate information about HOPE VI has created an environment in which misimpressions about the program and its basic purposes and outcomes have flourished — often with encouragement from HUD. HOPE VI plays upon the public housing program’s unfairly negative reputation and an exaggerated sense of crisis about the state of public housing in general to justify a drastic model of large-scale family displacement and housing redevelopment that increasingly appears to do more harm than good. For these reasons, this report has been titled False HOPE. To the extent possible, given the scarcity of data available on HOPE VI, it tracks the program’s shortcomings and inconsistencies and proposes specific reforms.
False HOPE was prepared by the National Housing Law Project, together with the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Sherwood Research Associates, and Everywhere and Now Public Housing Residents Organizing Nationally Together (ENPHRONT). The report is intended to support and to complement similar proposals for HOPE VI reform previously produced by ENPHRONT and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.