July, 25, 2023 — Fresno Housing Authority
Documented by Ramiro Merino
What happened: At their Tuesday meeting, Fresno Housing commissioners received an overview of the 2024 Agency Plan concerning local housing needs and goals, which will be released online Friday for a 45-day public comment period.
Notable changes include the extension of the Housing Choice Voucher program, formerly known as Section 8, to more than 60 days, depending on market conditions (time to lease); the current policy is 60 days.
In addition, current policy prohibits the admission of housing voucher applicants for three years from the date of their eviction from federally assisted housing for drug-related criminal activity. The Fresno Housing Authority staff is recommending allowing admission if the applicant can provide verification that the member who was engaged in such activity has completed supervised drug-rehab or is no longer in the household.
Another proposed change is that rent increases may not exceed 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living (CPI), as defined, or 10%, whichever is lower.
The Agency Plan informs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the public about public housing policies, operations, funding, asset management and program activities that are either already in place or planned to meet local housing needs and goals.
Yolanda Keiser, housing choice voucher manager, reported to the Fresno Joint Housing Board that so far 26,568 housing voucher applications have been received. In addition, 2,281 applicants were served in the lobby, and the agency has received more than 16,400 phone calls and 9,602 emails regarding the voucher program. To put that in perspective, the agency owns and/or manages about 80 multi-family housing developments throughout Fresno County.
She said the plan will be posted on the agency’s website for the public to view starting Friday.
Following the 45-day public comment period, a public hearing will be held on Sept. 26 and the agency hopes to submit the final product to HUD on Oct. 17.
And also: The board honored outgoing Commissioner Sabrina Kelley, whose last meeting was on Tuesday.
Kelley is a longtime Fresno resident and community relations consultant. She previously worked as a resident services manager for Fresno Housing prior to joining the city board of commissioners in 2020.
“The work from Commissioner Kelley has centered on community and community first. It is difficult for Black women; she has been resilient. She has been a bold voice for the community. We know you are highly respected outside this dais. We know you are an anchor for housing and community development,” said Eric Payne, executive director of the Central Valley Urban Institute.
Board Chair Cary Catalano, who represents Fresno County, told Kelley, “Your kindness is appreciated. You are always looking out for the ones who do not have a voice.”
Her departure will leave two vacant seats on the city board and one vacancy on the county board.
Up next: The Fresno Housing Board of Commissioners will meet next on Aug. 22.