From VCStar.com, Ventura County Star, “Oxnard public housing residents face new fees” by Kevin Clerici, 6 Apr 2011.
[Oxnard, CA] — Public housing residents in Oxnard, including many farmworker families whose pay can be sporadic during rainy winter months, now face a $25 fee for late rent payments, the Oxnard Housing Authority board decided Tuesday.
New residents also will see a deposit required to own a pet double to $100.
By a 4-2 vote with one abstention, the board held firm on the late rent fee, described as “a little push” to correct habitually late payers, despite opposition from dozens of mostly Latino residents who filled the City Council chambers.
Audience members, many speaking with the assistance of a translator, described the charges as unfair and unkind amid a sluggish economy. Some described how families are living paycheck to paycheck, with weather they can’t control affecting their jobs.
The standing-room only crowd included seniors on fixed incomes who opposed any increase to the current $50 pet deposit. “They need that money to survive,” said senior resident Maria Castillo. She added that many of her senior neighbors have pets for companionship on the recommendation of their doctor.
Objections also were raised by the attorney from California Rural Legal Assistance and the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which assists homeless and low-income people.
The fee increases were proposed by Oxnard Housing Authority Director Bill Wilkins, as part of a five-year plan that sets policy and is required to continue the flow of millions in federal housing funds. The agency oversees some 820 public housing units and 1,659 Section 8 housing vouchers for eligible low-income individuals and families.
The five-year outlook and an accompanying annual plan are due this month, which put some pressure on the seven-member authority board to act Tuesday. The board is made up of the City Council and two residents.