Meeting Long Beach Mayor, Rex Richardson: A Bust?

Local News Alerts,

On Housing Policy Discussion, Perhaps, But Interest Expressed by Owners in City’s Voucher Program

A well-intended, well planned “meet and greet” with Mayor Rex Richardson of Long Beach had been in the works for several months. The “event,” which was scheduled to take place at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach on Wednesday, May 24th, became the victim of last-minute logistics and scheduling changes imposed by the City of Long Beach. As a result, the planned meeting soon morphed from an opportunity for a meeting with Mayor Richardson to discuss policy concerns of rental housing providers into a takeover by the city and relocation of the meeting to the offices of the Long Beach Housing Authority.  Nevertheless, there was a large turnout of property owners in the room who stayed engaged throughout the 2-hour meeting.

While several property owners did have opportunities to address the mayor on his views about rent control and just cause eviction policies, the mayor mostly dodged the issues, and what owners received was a “horse and pony” show on the city’s voucher programs. Nevertheless, a great deal of important information about the state of the city’s homeless population, efforts being made by the city to address the situation, and the need to place rental housing voucher recipients was shared by the mayor.

Rental property owners who have, in the past, participated in rental voucher programs had expressed varying degrees of mostly negative experiences when it comes to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) Department’s Section 8 voucher program. However, Housing Authority Departments differ across the state and within counties, and as far as reputations go, the Long Beach Housing Authority, because of its size and management, purportedly stands out among the others. What was made clear is Mayor Richardson’s passion for his city’s voucher programs and strong desire to help those who are unhoused – his passion was convincing. 

The H.U.D. programs offered by the city include bonus payments, additional coverage for damages, and rent payments starting once inspection has occurred. The city stated that it can sometimes inspect the day of, but no later than 7-days, following completion of paperwork. Alison King who heads the city’s Housing Authority Department also explained how the inspection process has been improving, and minor issues such as a missing window screen or broken electrical outlet that can be easily and quickly corrected by owners are merely being noted and are no longer a basis for failure and not passing inspection.

Following the presentations and discussion, Mayor Richardson made a pitch to property owners to consider participating in the city’s voucher program, and many owners present did agree to consider it and provided their contact information for further follow-up.