Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.

FIGHT THE STIGMA!

FIGHT THE STIGMA!
Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Jan 5, 2013

The Basics of Setting Up a Section 8 Anti-blight Reward System

by Rosemary Reeves 

This is a follow-up to the article, Businesses Can Save Neighborhoods from Section 8 blight.  To get started, community groups can use this how-to guide for setting up a Section 8 anti-blight reward system. 

You will need the following:

A Way for Section 8 tenants to register for rewards

It’s best if there are several ways for Section 8 households to register including by mail, online or in person at the local community center that will create and run the rewards program.  This helps to accommodate people with different needs and make it easier for Section 8 tenants to register by offering a variety of ways to do so.  The registration form should indicate that they must supply their name, current address and phone number and that they will also need to include proof of Section 8 status as well as a copy of a recent bill in their name as proof of current address.  

There should also be a disclaimer in normal size print that by signing they agree to abide by the rules of the program, that they will not have the option to dispute a complaint and that the identities of any individuals reporting a complaint against their household through the program will not be released, in the interest of privacy.  

Once their application is processed, the organization running the program will need to provide the participant with a registration number which will be printed on the registration card they receive.  At that time, their name and address should be placed on a registration list as a record of their participation.  The list will also be used to match up complaints with the addresses.  Those addresses that have provoked complaints will not receive a rewards care package that month.

Make sure to send a welcome letter along with the registration card.  Positive reinforcement is not only the nice thing to do, but it promotes warm feelings toward the community and that encourages respect for neighbors.

A Hotline Phone Number

The community organization running the Section 8 anti-blight reward system will need to have a hotline phone number that people can call to report their complaints against Section 8 addresses.  This hotline should be automated.  Avoid having an actual person man the phone.  Set up the hotline so an automated voice message says something like this:  “You have reached the (name of neighborhood) anti-blight complaint hotline.  Please say your name and call back number.   Briefly describe the nature of the complaint, the time and date of the occurrence and the address you are making the complaint against.”  Only give a call back if you feel it is necessary to clarify something, but do not indulge the caller.  Get the facts and end the conversation.

Periodically, someone should check the messages on the hotline and match them against the addresses on the rewards program list.  If there is a match, that Section 8 household will lose their rewards care package for the month.  However, they will still be eligible for one the next month if there are no complaints against them during that time.

Notification of Complaint Card

As a courtesy, the organization should notify the Section 8 household participating in the rewards program as soon as possible when a complaint against their address has been reported.  This should be done through the mail using a “Notification of Complaint” card.  This notice should be easy for someone from the organization to fill out by simply checking off the appropriate boxes and easy for the person receiving it to understand.  Please click on the link below to view a sample notice.

Sample Notification of Complaint for Section 8 Anti-blight reward program

At this point, community groups might ask, how do we get businesses involved in a community run, anti-blight Section 8 reward system?  In my next article on the subject, I will give tips on how to approach your local chamber of commerce.  

RELATED ARTICLES:

Conclusion of Section 8 Blight - The Cure Series

For more articles on the subject, please see the "I Hate Section 8" page of this website.

2 comments:

  1. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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    1. Yes, this blog is always evolving as I strive to enhance the reading and viewing pleasure of everyone who comes to this site. I want my readers to enjoy themselves, to be surprised every time and to come back again because there's nothing else like this blog. The pages on this site have undergone several changes as I have added more content and they will continue to evolve. I'm very open to that, so thank you for your suggestion. I think you're right. I'm working on it. Keep those suggestions coming and thank you!

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