Neighbors Rally to Help Renters

Dennis Evanosky    Muslily Rishina addressed his supporters in Russian at last Saturday’s rally. His daughter Svetlana, stood by his side and translated.

Landlord, city threaten elderly with evictions

Two Alameda residents — an 87-year-old man who survived Adolf Hitler’s Europe and a wheelchair-bound woman —are facing evictions from their homes. Margaret Tam, who owns The Dunes on Shore Line Drive, has informed Muslily Rishin that she no longer wants to accept his Section 8 rental voucher. She wants him to leave his home, so she can rent the two-bedroom apartment to someone else for more money. 

Barbara Johnson, who is in her 70s, is unable to walk, and is barely able to stand. She uses a scooter to get around the apartment in Alameda where she lives, under threat of eviction. Housing advocate Catherine Pauling says that regulations require that Johnson receive a notice by mail for a court hearing regarding her Section 8 voucher. She did not. When she failed to attend the hearing, the federal government revoked the voucher. 

Johnson, who depends on her $975 disability check to live, suddenly found that she had to pay the city full-market rent: $1,300 a month, plus utilities, $325 more than her income. Instead of stepping up to help, the city is allegedly attempting to evict her. 

Tam is evicting Rishin so she can make more money. The city is evicting Johnson because its disabled tenant cannot pay rent that exceeds her income by more than $300. Neither has any protection under the city’s new just-cause eviction ordinance. 

Protection under the ordinance excludes tenants receiving Section 8 vouchers. Tam is able to evict an 87-year-old World War II survivor. The city is able to evict a disabled woman because she cannot pay her rent. She is also unable to walk and barely able to stand. 

The new ordinance permits Rishin’s eviction because he receives Section 8. The ordinance affords Johnson no protection.  A disabled woman misses a meeting, loses her Section 8 voucher and the City of Alameda wants to show her the way out of town. 

 

 

Dennis Evanosky    Catherin Pauling (left) joined wheel-chair-bound Barbara Johnson and her friends at the Alameda Housing Authority office.