Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program

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After 11 years, the City of Phoenix Housing Department will accept applications for the Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher program. City of Phoenix Housing Manager Nichole Ayoola will talk about the program.

Richard Ruelas: Good evening, I'm Richard Ruelas in for Jose Cardenas. A Federal appeals reverses the ban against sheriff Arpaio's immigration rate, and we'll talk to an attorney and plaintiff involved, and plus what community groups and leaders are doing to help desert vista high school move forward with a racial incident that sparked national attention and after 11 years the housing program in Phoenix has opened up its wait list, all coming up straight ahead on Horizonte.

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Richard Ruelas: Good evening, the Ninth Circuit court of appeals reserved a ban on the workplace raids being conducted by sheriff Joe Arpaio. The lower court ruled the Federal law preempted the raids, no word yet to resume those raids, but here to talk about the ruling is Ray Ybarra Maldonado, an attorney representing the plaintiffs and Carolos Garcia, executive director with Puente Arizona. One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Thank you both for joining us this evening. Carlos, let's start with you. What's the practical effect of this ruling? Should people be afraid or have anticipation the raids will start up again?

Carlos Garcia: They should not be afraid now but there is fear in the community. We saw 95 of these raids happen throughout the last seven years. Over 1,000 families were broken up because of these raids, and so it was a dark period of time for undocumented people in Maricopa County, and fortunately, for the last year and a half, because of this injunction, we have not seen any workplace raids. There is the potential that these come back but as ray will explain, we're planning to appeal and make sure that we keep this ban on these workplace raids.

Richard Ruelas: Are you hearing fear in the community? Is your office getting calls or are you hearing things on talk radio or monitoring anything that makes you think that there is fear?

Ray Ybarra Maldonado: Yes, the making headlines yesterday were the sheriff has this power once again, and our community, knowing sheriff Arpaio, who, who is used to coming out there and being blatant and attacking our community like he has in the past brings fear back to the community. Fortunately we're able to let them know it's not going to happen and we'll be there, whether it's through this lawsuit or organizing actions. We're going to do whatever we need to do to make sure that we don't go back to the past.

Richard Ruelas: And I guess although it's accurate to say that the preliminary injunction was set aside, and he would have the power to do these raids again. It seemed like the ruling was on a narrower ground than the headline makes it seem?

Carlos Garcia: It's much more complicated than what you see in the media. We need to understand in this case that the court overturned the preliminary injunction for now but if we file a hearing, that still stays in place.

Richard Ruelas: The preliminary injunction was just asking the court have him stop this while we litigate it.

Carlos Garcia: Exactly, so --

Richard Ruelas: There is a litigation that's going forward.

Carlos Garcia: Totally. The litigation still is going forward, and also it's important to note that the preliminary injunction was not stopping the raids. The preliminary injunction was out of these statutes, and he's also entered into an agreement with the doj to not do them again without permission, this is a temporary setback but I think at the end of the day we'll be victorious.

Richard Ruelas: So from a legal standpoint you don't have an idea he would start a raid tomorrow. In this case the injunction has been lifted, but there is the department of Justice ruling that says don't do this any more?

Carlos Garcia: Correct. In addition to that, the, essentially, the preliminary injunction is still in place. We have an opportunity to file a motion for rehearing during that time period, the injunction stays in place so there will be no raids.

Richard Ruelas: So there is several steps. You will appeal this ruling to not just the three judges who wrote the decision but the entire Ninth Circuit, is that the next step for your side?

That's what happens, ninth circuit, a panel of three judges that issue a decision. We can go back and ask the panel for a rehearing on the case. And a rehearing so that all of the Ninth Circuit judges get to have a say often whether or not --

Richard Ruelas: And that is your plan?

Carlos Garcia: Right now, that's what we're exploring, and we're still looking into it, but I think that we're going to go forward and make sure that this injunction stays in place because we don't want Arpaio to go out and terrorize the community.

Richard Ruelas: And that's the thing is that it sounds -- are you confident Carlos, that the sheriff will not start these raids tomorrow given the stuff we discussed about the doj and injunctions?

Ray Ybarra Maldonado: No, you never know with the sheriff, what the sheriff is going to do, and we've been fighting the sheriff since 2007. This lawsuit is, you know, it has been a long war. This might be a battle that tilts it his way. We're in it for the long run. So again even if the courts go to remove this injunction and give them the power we'll be there and make sure that our community is protected and go do the prevention work and whatever we need to do to make sure our community is safe and not have to worry about the sheriff Arpaio.

Richard Ruelas: Not just -- it sounds like if he was going to restart the raids he would be putting this -- this injunction is still in effect, and you are saying that you have 21 days to file an appeal. There is the DOJ. It would be a little full Hardy for him to start raids again?

Carlos Garcia: If he has an attorney sitting next to him they are going to tell him, you better slow down a bit. Likewise the deal defense team, we're ready to say he cannot be doing this.

Richard Ruelas: The other thing it seemed not being a lawyer but I will try to play one on TV for a few minutes. The rulings -- you guys, your efforts here was trying to say just on the face of the laws that were written there preempted by Federal law that these laws are too close to being an immigration scheme and the court now, the judges have ruled not necessarily on its face, but they said that you can still go in and argue that the way that Arpaio was using these laws amounted to an illegal immigration machine or mechanism. Is that kind of -- do I have that right?

Carlos Garcia: I think you would do good in law school. A good understanding of how I read the case, as well. We made a facial challenge saying the statutes are pre-empted.

Richard Ruelas: They could be used for prosecuting a citizen using a fake social?

Carlos Garcia: There could be one or two instances in which a citizen or a permanent resident could be guilty of applying for a job but they have a felony in the past and they don't want to disclose that so one or two cases, is not facially preempted.

Richard Ruelas: But they said go ahead and argue that the way the sheriff is using it.

Carlos Garcia: As applied.

Richard Ruelas: As applied.

Carlos Garcia: So basically, the Ninth Circuit says go back to the district court judge and ask for the applied analysis and develop the record on that issue and you likely win.

Richard Ruelas: Not being a lawyer but to your mind having seen the families you saw this as a, as applied as something that Arpaio did to stop the illegal immigration?

Ray Ybarra Maldonado: 100%. You saw Russell Pearce, now disbarred under Thomas and the sheriff come up with a plan to circumvent the Federal immigration laws and go after our families, not only go after them and deport them but make sure that they had families so they would never be able to come back or apply for any other immigration, and so this was them coming up with this plot to be able to capture our families, put them in jail and deport them. They were able to do that for a long time. Fortunate enough with the attorneys like ray and other folks, came along and the brave folks, the folks affected by these raids came forward, Bach plaintiff and is sued the sheriff. These are undocumented people who stood up to the biggest fear and won for the last year, people in Maricopa County have been able to go to work without thinking the sheriff is going to come and get them, and their kids could be at home knowing their parents were in a come, were going to come back home. It has been a great victory over the last year and a half.

Richard Ruelas: And I can't help but think back to when I covered some of the Marchs and protests you've been involved with, sb1070 passes and the raids around the time of the 708, things seemed bad. If you could go back and talk to the 2007 and 2008 version of yourself, what would you say to that, Carlos?

Ray Ybarra Maldonado: I would say keep going because what we did ended up working. We fought back, and Andrew Thomas is gone, Pierce was recalled, and now sheriff Arpaio is against the ropes, so I would try to give -- to motivate myself and say it's worth it and has been worth it because now fast forward six or seven years we're on the winning side of history and we're making -- we're making inroads like we have with this case.

Richard Ruelas: I appreciated you guys I go at that the time to talk us through the case. Maybe we'll have you back after the appeal is filed and a ruling comes in.

Carlos Garcia: That's the deal. We'll come back. Appreciate it.

Richard Ruelas: Thank you for joining us.

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Richard Ruelas: The national coalition of 100 black women and community leaders are developing plans that go beyond race to address the inclusion of all people. The project follows an incident at desert vista high school in Ahwatukee where students spelled out the n word on their T-shirts recently. The school hosted an assembly and sessions addressing diversity, social media and other topics this week, and here to talk about what was discussed at the school is Charlene Tarver, the Phoenix President of the national coalition of 100 black women. Thank you for joining us this evening.

Charlene Tarver: Thank you for having me.

Richard Ruelas: As much as you are able take us into the high school, what was the session and the assembly like?

Charlene Tarver: The purpose of the assembly was to provide an opportunity for the students to have a socio cultural experience. To really think about what it feels like to be or receive the brunt of something that's not positive. So the goal was for us to talk about obliterating the n word, to talk about finding ways to have civil discourse, to focus on emotional intelligence, and so we did not focus as much on the incident that led up to it as much as we really wanted the students to feel empowered and to understand that the high school environment is an environment where all students should feel safe and protected. No student should feel bullied or should be the victim of bigotry or racism or discrimination or hate speech. We don't have space in our high schools for our students to feel alienated and isolated. So this was an opportunity for all of the students to really come together and to get the other side of the cultural experience.

Richard Ruelas: This is a valuable lesson, welcomed at any high school that did not have an incident like this.

Charlene Tarver: Exactly.

Richard Ruelas: This school did have one like this and must have reached out to you specifically for this. What is your group, what do they normally do? Tell us about the organization.

Charlene Tarver: The national coalition of 100 black women is an -- a national organization that is over three decades old. We have a five-pronged focus, which is health, education, and economic empowerment and civic engagement and strategic alliances. So again, education is a fundamental and critical component of our programming. We focus much more on advocacy and creating meaningful opportunities to promote black women and girls. So when we heard the story and of course the incident with, went viral, and we heard about it and we did prepare press releases and we reached out to the leadership at Tempe union high school. We offered to meet with them so that one they were getting the perspective of not only African-Americans but specifically African-American women. Our major concern was that again our girls and our students felt empowered and that they were in an environment where there was inclusion and there was diversity and a place like Arizona like we are less than 6% of the population, oftentimes that is not the case. That is not the experience. So when we reached out to the leadership at Tempe union high school district they were very receptive to meeting with us. We had a series of meetings to plan and talk about the inclusion of the multi-cultural curriculum. So that's how the conversation started. From there we proposed a two-day workshop.

Richard Ruelas: And you are going to a high school where there is not a lot of African-American population. How do you reach not just the African-American women there but the other small minority populations there and the overwhelmingly white populations there?

Charlene Tarver: The interesting thing about race is that we are a microcosm of the world. When we talk to students we want students to understand that race and inclusion is not about -- not necessary only when you are in a room full of other people of color. The world evolves around people being able to engage one another in meaningful dialogue and being able to express themselves and address issues and concerns, and as Americans it's very important that we respect cultural differences, religious differences, and lifestyle differences, gender differences. So although that population doesn't have a large number of African-American students. It does have students that are going to go out into is a larger macro come of the world, and we want them to have an understanding especially about the use of the n word, and how to engage communities of color. This is where our students learn what is appropriate conduct and dialogue. They learn at the, at this level. These are students that will be going out into the world and traveling all over the nation and going to be seeking employment and going to colleges and we want them to have an understanding of what it is to be a person of color and again, open the door for dialogue.

Richard Ruelas: You mentioned the use of the n word. When the story of these girls and spelling out that word came out, one of the more fascinating aspects was the girls claimed it was done as an almost term of, the photo was taken to show a boyfriend of one of the girls who was African-American and almost was seen as a word that was used as a term of affection or endearment between the two. I don't know whether there is a generational gap, where there is students who believe that there is no power or negative connotations to that word. Is that what you found?

Charlene Tarver: I think that clearly students are going to have excuse and is justifications for their conduct when caught. So I don't know whether that version is accurate or not. The reality is that our young people have to be able to watch television and make some -- use discernment to determine what is appropriate conduct and terminology and what is not. We all have to make those decisions. That's the hard part about being adults. So to say that I heard it on television or it is a term of endearment, we do not live our lives based upon music videos. This was an opportunity to really talk about what the word means, culturally, historically, and socially, and looking at ways that we can create an environment where all students feel included. These are the best years of their lives and we don't want our students to feel alienated.

Richard Ruelas: Taking us into those assemblies and workshops did the message get through and did you see connections being made?

Charlene Tarver: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think the students, question talked about digital branding because that's another thing that's really popular with young people, is the photos that they are putting up and the messaging and on the other side of the digital branding, there is the fibro-googling happening so we want people to understand the responsibility with technology and what they are putting out in the media will last indefinitely. It's going to define who they are, their career opportunities, their academic opportunities, and while that particular incident was unfortunate, it really allowed us to focus on a bigger issue, and that is the need for multi-cultural education in our schools in Arizona and for us to have a greater focus on diversity and inclusion.

Richard Ruelas: And diversity is a tough topic for adults in corporate settings and high school students are tough so I commend you for trying to break through this.

Charlene Tarver: Absolutely.

Richard Ruelas: Through those restrictions, but you did not see a lot of eye rolling or yawning?

Charlene Tarver: No.

Richard Ruelas: Or disdain. The message got through?

Charlene Tarver: I believe -- you know, it's the first step of many steps. We're in the early stages of this journey. There are ongoing meetings with the School District to kind of determine what the next steps are going to be. We're excited about having a seat at the table and continuing the dialogue around multi-cultural education.

Richard Ruelas: So beyond window dressing and trying to get us to think about something that they might not have thought about had it 2409 been for this.

Charlene Tarver: Right.

Richard Ruelas: I appreciate you taking the time to join us.

Charlene Tarver: Thank you.

Charlene Tarver: Thank you for having me.

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Richard Ruelas: After 11 years the City of Phoenix housing department will accept applications for the section 8 housing choice voucher program later this month. Here to talk with me about this is Nichole Ayoola, housing manager for the City of Phoenix. Thank you for joining us this evening.

Nichole Ayoola: Thank you for having me.

Richard Ruelas: The wait list. Tell us about the wait list and what -- why it opened up.

Nichole Ayoola: The city closed the wait list in 2005, June of 2005, so it has been closed for the last 11 years. When we closed it there were 30,000 applicants on the wait list at that point in time, and it had never been closed. We felt that it was time to close the list, to get a better gauge on where we were and work through this. It has taken us 11 years to do so.

Richard Ruelas: And working through the meaning the need was so great that you needed 30,000 people needed to be helped first before you could accept new people.

Nichole Ayoola: That's correct.

Richard Ruelas: And what kind of help -- this program sounds fairly -- it sounds like a helpful program.

Nichole Ayoola: It is.

Richard Ruelas: Describe the parameters of the housing help that people can get.

Nichole Ayoola: So the program is designed to provide affordable opportunities or choice for individuals for low income individuals. It is a national program funded through the U.s. department of housing and urban development. And they completely fund the program so it provides is a rental subsidy for individuals who fit within the 30 to 50% of the area median income for that locality. And they essentially pay 30% of their grossed adjusted income, and the program pays the balance of that to a landmark.

Richard Ruelas: And the rental subsidy, it is good anywhere that they can --

Nichole Ayoola: Yes.

Richard Ruelas: So the subsidy allows them to choose where it is that they want to live so whether they are, they wanted to live near family they have the choice of placing themselves and their children in a locality where there are good schools or where they have access to health care or access to grocery stores, and those things, and/or whether they can go back to their neighborhood.

Nichole Ayoola: Right, and the cap is, essentially, 30% of their income, as much as their allowed to spend?

Richard Ruelas: Well, 30% of their income is what is -- they are required to spend. 30% of their income but it is --

Richard Ruelas: And you would ask them not to spend 70%?

Nichole Ayoola: They can't. The way that it works is based on their income they have a rental portion that we calculate and that is the portion that they pay towards the private landlord for their rented and the balance is paid by the program.

Richard Ruelas: But it's around 30%?

Nichole Ayoola: 30% of the adjusted gross income.

Richard Ruelas: Ok.

Richard Ruelas: They have that bundle to go shopping with essentially? That sort of lets them know where they can rent.

Nichole Ayoola: The way the program works there is a payment standard. That is set by the Federal Government based on the rental market, and so the fair market rents for that locality. It is based on the bedroom size so on how after there are lots of calculations that go into it but a bedroom size for a family. They receive what's called a voucher, not an actual paper document but gives them the opportunity to look for a two bedroom or three bedroom home and those things based on their family composition. There is a payment standard that's tied to that, so we won't pay more than 762 for a one bedroom unit here in the metro area. It goes up based on the bedroom size.

Richard Ruelas: Cuts a wide swath and doesn't mean that they are set to live in a segmented neighborhood and allows them to live where they want.

Nichole Ayoola: Right.

Richard Ruelas: The apartment or home.

Nichole Ayoola: Exactly.

Richard Ruelas: And the way -- what do you have to do to qualify and what is the application process to get on the wait list?

Nichole Ayoola: We are opening up the wait list this year and this month so it will be an online process and completely online. In other jurisdictions, the City of Phoenix is what we call a public housing authority which allows us to administer the program, and so another jurisdiction, sometimes they do have paper applications sore you can go into an office here just because of the logistics of it and we expect that we're going to accept up to 10,000 applicants this time, and we expect that will take us five years to get through. And so it will be completely online.

Richard Ruelas: How long do you think it will take for the wait list to be filled?

Nichole Ayoola: Well, you know, that's hard to say. It will be open for at -- won't be open for at least five days but I anticipate we will fill up quickly.

Richard Ruelas: What is the website?

Nichole Ayoola: That's where you can get frequently asked questions and information on the program. They will be able to apply by going to on the homepage. It's not active right now.

Richard Ruelas: And public libraries.

Nichole Ayoola: Public libraries will have access to and any place that you can have access to online capabilities, Wi-Fi through the cell phone. A lot of people will be able to apply that way, and anywhere in the world that you can get internet access.

Richard Ruelas: I appreciate your joining us. Thanks.

Nichole Ayoola: Thank you for having me.

Richard Ruelas: And that's our show for tonight. Thank you for watching us from all of us here at Horizonte and your ABC News PBS station. I'm Richard Ruelas. Hi, mom, have a good evening. 14:36:36:12 Captioning Performed By LNS Captioning 14:36:36:06 Horizonte is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS, members of your PBS station. Thank you.

Nichole Ayoola: City of Phoenix Housing Manager

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