Rutland Associates Defend Section 8 Decision
After 40 years, the group has stopped accepting Section 8 vouchers their South End property.
Rutland Associates will stick to its decision and stop accepting Section 8 housing vouchers. That decision comes in the face of a very public rebuke and push by the Boston City Council to continue accepting the vouchers at the Boston Housing Authority-run Rutland/East Springfield development.
The Boston City Council addressed Rutland Associates by name in a June meeting, pushing the group to continue to working with the city and the Housing and Urban Development to continue accepting vouchers.
Rutland Associates General Partner, David Parker explained that a deal had been signed with the government 40 years ago to maintain a low rent portion of properties in the South End. Rutland Associates took over the property 20 years ago, honoring the agreement that had been put forth. After the 40 years were up, the contract allowed for Parker and Rutland Associates to decide if they wanted to take on more vouchers for Section 8 Housing. The vouchers for the development expired on May 31 of this year.
Parker said that he received a letter requesting his presence at the City Council Meeting on that afternoon, but had schedule conflicts.
“I didn’t attend the meeting because I was booked,” Parker said. “It was bad form of the Council to notify us of this meeting the day of it.”
According to Parker, Rutland has met all of its obligations and is entitled to stop accepting the vouchers.
“We have been transparent with our tenants,” Parker said. “ We have met the letter of the law. A deal is a deal and we have done our part, including takingcare of our current tenants.”
Council urges group to reverse decision
City Councilor Tito Jackson disagrees with the decision. According to Jackson's Communications Director Bennett Wilson, Boston Housing Authority screened tenants who held Section 8 vouchers at the time before the expiration date May 31, 2012, the expiration date for Section 8 Project Based Vouchers.
According to Wilson, those who met eligibility criteria for the Enhanced Voucher Program had the option of accepting one and remaining at Rutland Housing, refusing it and paying higher rents at Mark up to Market rates in their current unit, or taking a tenant based mobile voucher and moving elsewhere.
According to Wilson, landlords who opt out of a Section 8 project-based voucher contract are required to accept enhanced vouchers. She also said that Jackson had made contact with David and Karen Parker about the hearing held at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in the South End.
"Councillor Jackson then submitted a resolution urging the Parkers to renew the Section 8 project-based vouchers. That day, City Council passed the resolution," Wilson said. "There isn't anything binding that requires Rutland Housing to do anything. They (City Council) are simply urging its owners to convert the units from Enhanced Vouchers back to Project-based assistance."
Wilson said that Councillor Jackson is available to meet with the tenants, David Parker and all necessary parties so that they can begin the process of converting enhanced vouchers to project based vouchers, though this meeting has not yet been scheduled.