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By Chris Frost
Oxnard-- The City Council, April 5, approved the five-year Public Housing Authority (PHA) Plan, Annual Agency Plan, Capital Fund Program (CFP), and the Five-Year Action Plan for Low Rent Public Housing.
The action adopts a resolution approving the 2021 Annual Agency Plan, five-year PHA plan for the Housing Authority and authorizes and directs the chairman to execute the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Public Housing Agency Certification Compliance Form certifying the Housing Authority's compliance with HUD's policies and procedures.
In council questions, Gabriela Basua acknowledged that HUD budgets are constrained, but she hoped that Housing Director Emilio Ramirez could find some grant money to put into security and possibly pay an officer next year.
"It's food for thought," she said. "I'm hoping that you'll be able to fund additional police for the public housing units with HUD funding."
Ramirez said his department will get that done.
"We're working on an agreement right now for security at Pleasant Valley and La Colonia," he said.
Council Member Gabe Tehran thanked Ramirez and his staff for their work and asked about comments from residents that addressed areas of concern.
"Some of them were deferred due to Covid-19, but I am wondering if there is some kind of timeline on when you'll be revisiting the issues as we move into the orange tier and continue to improve," he said.
Ramirez said the process staff undertook happens each year.
"Every year, we go through a process to identify the improvements that are necessary, and we would like to undertake, or the residents would require or request," he said. "Regarding Covid-19 specifically, there was some funding offered to the housing authority for the Covid-19 response. It was almost entirely about operations at the sites. We used those funds to allow us to operate remotely to improve those kinds of section eight and public housing operations. They were not used for site improvements. The capital fund, which is what this is, gets used for sight improvements."
Councilman Bert Perello asked if all the questions needed to be addressed that may not have been addressed because of Covid-19.
Ramirez said all the questions were addressed.
"I think what Councilman Tehran was referring to is that some of the residents were asking that we undertake improvements we cannot do," he said. "We cannot address improvements at this time. We can plan for them in the future, but they are not happening now."
The Housing Authority did not receive any written comments but did receive verbal comments at the Resident Advisory Board meeting.
One comment asked why vehicles parked across from the housing public office on Marquita Street are being ticketed even though the OHA (Oxnard Housing Authority) did not propose a parking policy to be enforced.
The staff explained by saying that "parking across from the public housing office on Marquita Street is allowed after business hours. There are visible signs posted that indicate parking hours and parking enforcement. Residents were reminded that the parking is only for staff and office visitors. So far, vehicles that received citations had been parked overnight for several days. In addition, there is sufficient public parking available nearby."
The item passed unanimously.