While the nation continues to be flustered by the cumbersome state of gun violence, the corruption protruding every branch of government, and the uncertainty of nuclear annihilation, another significant commonality continues to go ignored: the Department Of Housing and Urban Development's (Hud) allocation of the homeless, untreated mentally ill and chemically dependent adults in low-income housing communities where the elderly, functioning disabled and working individuals live.

This proliferation of homelessness throughout the country is no secret and in Costa Mesa, California, Newport Boulevard has become a magnet for the drug addicts and severely mentally ill that frequent the street. As you drive alongside the 55 freeway, you are bound to pass a man or woman pushing a cart filled with their life's belongings. The streaming lights of helicopters have become a monthly display of lights flashing at my apartment complex, combing through the trees, and dispersing to the adjacent apartments and businesses.

Ignoring severe mental illness & chemical dependency

And while it seems reasonable and a humanitarian act of kindness when HUD takes an unfortunate soul from the streets and gives him/her a home, they have failed to understand and address the fact that some of these folks who suffer from dangerous mental illness or chemical dependency are not psychologically and emotionally well enough to live in a stable community where they have to interact with others.

HUD does not realize that some folks who have never been treated for their mental illness do not have the ability to interact with the public. Rather than seek help for them, HUD throws these individuals into an environment they can't comprehend.

In the same token, rather than place the chemically dependent in a community where they can be helped with rehabilitation, non-functioning alcoholics/drug addicts are allowed to integrate into peaceful and stable communities where they are free to sell and use illegal drugs.

In many cases, these individuals are irrational and not sober, resulting in physical and verbal altercations with residents living in the community. HUD not only does a disservice to those who need medical assistance, but to those people whose lives are placed in jeopardy.

The affordable Single Residency Occupancy (SRO) I moved into used to be a motel that was converted into 96, 320 Square foot studios with one sinkless bathroom and a kitchen with no vent.

When I moved, I had no idea that the majority of the residents were schizophrenic, bipolar or chemically dependent dangerous individuals.

In the course of time I've lived there, I became aware of the tenants residing in the community who could not afford healthcare, had been cut off their medication or refused to be treated for their addictions. And as the years passed, I became a victim of bullying, harassment and death threats and sought temporary restraining orders (TRO) against a mentally disturbed stalker and drug-addicted woman-beater protected by the apartment manager.

The affordable housing unit I once considered home became a government protected prison where the subsidized owners violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and tenant/landlord lease.

Do HUD or DFEH protect non-subsidized tenants?

In 2015, I sought the help of both the Department of Employment and Fair Housing (DFEH) and HUD. Unfortunately, I soon found out that despite their assigned role to fight against discrimination, HUD and DFEH defended their recipients and my claims went ignored. The investigator assigned to my claim told me to "take the deal" offered by the respondents if I knew what was good for me and refused to abide by the laws and standards set by the FHA and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

I complained to HUD Equal Opportunity Specialist Rosalind Evans and DFEH Chief of Enforcement Mary Bonilla and filed 4 appeals with DFEH. In 2017, my final appeal led me to speak with DFEH Director Kevin Kish. Unfortunately, my efforts availed me nothing and instead I was told that despite the verification of my complaints, I had "missed the deadline" of my 4th appeal (purposely delayed by the department). DFEH allowed the property management to discriminate against my disabilities and threaten me with eviction for filing a complaint against them with fair housing.

Lack of justice led me to investigate and find out that federal grants obtained by states such as California are overseen by the state's Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements (RHNA) department that regulates and mandates that “all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community".

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) must meet those goals delegated by RHNA or California would be assessed penalty fees and/or a drastic cut in future funding. This pressure for California to meet its quota seems to have compromised the safety and FHA rights of those folks who are not recipients of subsidized housing.

Housing for the poor, functioning disabled and elderly should be both affordable and safe

Housing for the poor, functioning disabled and elderly should be both affordable and safe. It is not enough to take someone from the street and place them in a stable community without getting the person the medical help he/she needs. It's a disregard for the trauma and awful conditions some of these homeless people suffered.

My peek at how state funding and affordable housing work left me disillusioned in the housing justice system and with an unwavering curiosity. How many of you who live in affordable housing but are not receiving subsidized housing have been harassed, assaulted and or harmed by a HUD/Section 8 recipient that should have been hospitalized in a mental institute or placed in supervised group housing? Did you file complaints with HUD or DFEH? Were your claims dismissed? Perhaps by offering a voice to those who have been dismissed for not being part of the quota, I can piece together and finally understand the logic behind the larger piece of this discombobulated puzzle.

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