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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » Poverty is Big Business, Still

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August 20, 2012

Poverty is Big Business, Still

by at 1:36 pm.

Poverty is Big Business

Poverty is Big Business in Lowell

Today’s episode: State: LHA must release Sec. 8 list

LOWELL — The Secretary of State’s Public Records Division has determined the Lowell Housing Authority did not comply with the state’s public-records law when it denied The Sun’s request for a list of property owners with multiple Section 8 voucher tenants.

In an Aug. 8 letter to LHA Assistant Executive Director Mary Ann Maciejewski, the state’s supervisor of records, Shawn Williams, wrote that any responsive record identifying property owners with multiple Section 8 tenants is public record and must be provided to The Sun.

As of early April, there were nearly 1,250 tenants in the city with Section 8 housing vouchers from the LHA.

LHA provides tenant-based and project-based vouchers to those eligible for the Section 8 program.

Those with tenant-based vouchers can choose to live in any private housing unit that meets the requirement of the program. As of early April, the LHA provided 1,116 of those vouchers to participants.

Project-based Section 8 vouchers can only be used at designated properties. The LHA subsidized the rents of 120 project-based participants as of early April.

I’d like to see this list of landlords. How many live outside of Lowell? We spend a ton of energy griping about city officials that live outside of Lowell. Should we get a handle on “absentee landlords?” This list would help with that. Also, how often are the rental units inspected? By whom? Let’s protect those living in these units by ensuring that everything is on the up and up. Transparency will help. Disclose the list now.

8 Responses to “Poverty is Big Business, Still”

  1. Publius Says:

    Why should only the landlords names be released? In fairness, shouldn’t the tenants names should be released. After all, both are the beneficiaries the taxpayers largess.

  2. Jack Says:

    You can follow your muse, Publius. I’ll follow mine. My biggest concern is the living conditions of young kids. Let’s do what we can to ensure kids are growing up with what little we can give them.

  3. JC Says:

    How is the residence of the landlord pertinent? Good landlords are good no matter where they live, no matter where their rental properties are located. The bad ones are bad…even if they live right within the city limits. Can’t we just praise the good ones and castigate the bad ones without reference to residency?

  4. Magnolia Says:

    I think this is a great idea and I am glad to see it being pursued. . Who are the landlords? Are any of them “connected”? In what condition are their housing units? Add in the rest of Jack’s questions… The answers should be interesting.

  5. Prince Charming Says:

    Has anybody asked why the Sun needs/wants this information? There must be something sinister on the back burner. A local unfriendly pol, perhaps?

  6. Jack Says:

    Sorry JC. I was trying some “hair of the dog that bit ya” sorta logic. It’s not about residency, so much. However, if the accusation that the CM doesn’t care about Lowell because he lives in Chelmsford holds water, then the counter charge about landlords should not leak?

  7. Publius Says:

    Its “for the children” is one of the biggest canards ever developed by the left. Trillions have been spent with little tangible result.

    The city has regulations in place to protect the health and safety of the public. If these kids are at risk, then it is the city’s fault by not enforcing the regulations. Besides how would releasing the landlords name lead to a safer buildings?

  8. Jack Says:

    I can’t say that there isn’t justification for your cynicism, but it is still cynical. Sometimes we do things based on motivations that can be summed up by a cliche, e.g. “When the going gets tough, …”

    Even if every unit is safe, clean and up to code; what if 30% of the vouchers go to one landlord and they just happen to be the brother of a city official? (A fictitious scenario)

    We have a public bidding process for procurement. Why don’t we know which landlords take our money in exchange for housing services?

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