A deserving veteran
not an unwarranted privilege

Did Mario qualify financially for the program?

The CDBG Housing Rehab Program is guided by HUD income guidelines. Eligibility for CDBG for one person is as follows:  Moderate income eligibility is $43,800.  Low income eligibility is $27,400.  For Extremely Low income, the maximum income is $16,450.  Mario’s income was $11,172!

Did Mario’s home qualify for the program?

Yes.  Completely.  The following situations qualify for the program:

  • There are serious deficiencies representing an immediate threat to health and safety
  • Serious deterioration to individual components of the structure
  • Maintenance to individual components or the structure as a whole has been deferred resulting in a serious condition.
  • The building systems (plumbing, heating, electrical) are antiquated to the extent they are generally no longer standard and may constitute a health hazard.

All of these applied in Mario’s case. 

The claim that this was a privilege not properly available to similarly situated individuals

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure this one out.   We have a Housing Rehabilitation Program Guidebook which details how the program is supposed to be managed.  It says that if a property is sold, transferred or rehabbed, the loan must be paid back but we have more than 20 properties without liens, 29 properties refinanced and others sold and transferred.  We have people regularly deemed “emergencies” – one who hadn’t even filed an application yet.  It would seem to me that exceptions to the rule are the rule instead of following the rulebook.

Despite all the information I have provided to the Ethics Commission, they have found that I acted on Mario’s behalf to secure an unwarranted privilege for him even though Mario and his home qualified completely.  They have determined the home was not an emergency even though ServPro called it “not habitable” and the CDBG/Building staff found it even needed a water line and new electrical service.  They determined that I helped Mario skip a waiting list that didn’t exist.  They determined that I told the Housing Rehab Specialist not to worry about the paperwork when in reality there was nothing stopping him from putting a lien on the house even with title problems.  AND, that conversation never took place. They determined that the Housing Rehab Specialist was not aware of Mario’s Veteran status even though the verification was right in the file dated the day after Mario went in the hospital.  And, they determined that I secured this “privilege” in noncompliance wit the City’s protocol and standard practice of renovation work.  I think we have demonstrated that the Housing Rehabilitation Program has had little protocol or standard practice for a number of years.

 I remain proud that I helped a deserving and eligible Veteran.