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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Public Housing Dwellers Still Aren't Paying Rent -- Or Getting Evicted

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge If you set Rent in San Francisco, it might be called Not Paying Rent
  • If you set Rent in San Francisco, it might be called Not Paying Rent


in September, the famously beleaguered San Francisco Housing Authority

initiated a monthlong freeze on evicting residents from public housing

sites -- even if tenants hadn't paid rent in a decade.


amnesty was supposed to provide enough time for the thousands of residents

who have not been paying rent -- or those who have been overcharged -- to

clear their names.


Authority officials thought they had solved the lingering problem of

a $4 million-plus backlog of uncollected rent money. They invented a

payment plan, whereby residents who owed thousands of

dollars in back rent could pay off their bill in installments, with

payments not exceeding 7.5 percent of renters' household income.

But since September, only 174 public housing residents -- out of the thousands who haven't paid rent-- had even bothered to set up a payment

plan. Moreover, the Housing Authority has no idea how much the payment plans have helped chip away at its embarrassing financial fiasco.

Meanwhile, many of the renters living in San Francisco's 6,500 public housing units still aren't paying rent.

In the month of November, 1,343 public housing residents skipped rent. But only 245 received

eviction notices. The following month was even worse. By mid-December, 1,993 residents were forgoing rent -- and 165 received eviction notices, according to

the Housing Authority.

Doing the math, of

the 3,336 individuals or families who didn't pay rent over the two-month span, only 410 received eviction notices.


what happened to the other 2,926 residents who neither paid rent nor

got threats of eviction?

Rose Dennis, spokeswoman for the Housing Authority, said that's a good question.

After some research, she found at least one reason for this -- an individual or family could be in the midst of disputing their

rent bill. But the possibility of thousands of residents disputing their bill seems far-fetched. Beyond

that, Dennis herself couldn't really say specifically why some residents who haven't been paying rent aren't getting the boot.

"I cannot tell you definitively why they wouldn't receive eviction notices," Dennis said.

Perhaps it's just done like most other things at the Housing Authority: arbitrarily.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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