Stripped of Duty

All 22 staff members of the Berkeley Housing Authority were fired in late spring after an investigation uncovered abuses within the agency, which receives $25 million in federal funds each year. Perhaps the most bizarre irregularity involved two years’ worth of rent subsidies paid on behalf of 15 deceased tenants. Other violations included overpaying subsidies for some tenants and allowing ineligible tenants to inherit Section 8 vouchers from family members. Agency director Steve Barton has resigned, and the city, which failed as the agency’s overseer, has been replaced with an independent board of commissioners. City attorney Manuela Albuquerque says the city’s managers and Barton dismissed her advice to conduct audits for years.

Shelterforce is the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.


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