LANCASTER – Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris reacted strongly to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor’s recent approval of a policy that allows homeless probationers and parolees to qualify for government-subsidized housing and cuts the criminal history review period for drug-related and violent crimes from three to two years.
The policy changes are part of the Housing Authority’s annual plan and are aimed at getting more homeless people off the street. The changes also mean some probationers and parolees will qualify to receive housing vouchers specifically set aside for homeless people, which, in some cases, may move them ahead of seniors and disabled persons for government-subsidized Section 8 housing.
Monday morning, Parris released the following statement:
“I am absolutely appalled and disgusted that the Board of Supervisors would allow felons to cut the line for Section 8 housing benefits. People who have played by the rules, lead a clean life and have waited years to qualify for Section 8 housing now have to wait until criminals who are just out of prison take these valuable government-subsidized vouchers.
Section 8 housing is a privilege and allowing someone who has committed a violent crime as recently as two years ago the ability to skip over the elderly and the disabled disgusts me. If there was ever a time for hard-working people to challenge how Section 8 is administered, now is the time. This decision violates the spirit of Section 8 and sends the wrong message to those who play by the rules.
What is also amazing about the County’s action is that it seems to fly in the face of their other recent Board actions where the Supervisors were critical of the state in dealing with parolee housing issues. Clearly no one should be surprised prison realignment is off to a shaky start, as the state government did a disservice to local communities by not giving careful thought to the public safety implications of the law.
Now the County is doing the same to Lancaster by sending thousands of criminals to the City of Lancaster. The County has the unique ability to speak out of both sides of its mouth.
In Lancaster we are asking, is the Board of Supervisors now using Section 8 to dump the county’s criminals into the City of Lancaster? There should be no mistake about the consequences of sending violent felons into our city. Some of our hard working families are going to be hurt and/or murdered as a result of this decision. Just last week we had a respected store owner murdered by a recently released parolee. How can anyone say we are not in a war over how Section 8 is being administered in Los Angeles County?”