Section 8 isn't causing these problems
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We were disappointed that you chose to print Jim Shearer's June 28 letter ("Section 8 Ruination") regarding the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh's Section 8 program with its baseless and uninformed accusations.
First, the housing authority does not determine where tenants receiving housing assistance through the Section 8 program live; under Fair Housing Laws, we are not permitted to do so. Federal guidelines limit the rent that can be charged to assisted families, and the authority inspects every unit assisted at least annually.
Second, there are at least a dozen residential buildings in the block of California Avenue between Benton Avenue and Perrott Street, many with multiple apartments. Yet only three families on this block are recipients of housing assistance through the housing authority.
Finally, with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, the authority is not the landlord or building owner and cannot evict any tenant. Housing assistance can be terminated due to violation by the tenant or owner, but only the owner can evict.
The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh is committed to working with our neighborhood partners. Persons believing a property with problems is supported by Section 8 housing assistance should report the address and the specifics of the problem to the HACP Hotline at 412-456-5111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We follow up promptly on all such reports.
No one should have to experience what Mr. Shearer describes in his letter. There are many things that can contribute to the emergence of such a situation, but Section 8 housing assistance is not one of them.
DAVID P. WEBER
The writer is government relations and special services officer for the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.
First Published July 5, 2012 12:00 am