The City of Orinda’s latest plan to bring low-income people into the city is very likely based on deceptive information. The plan is called the Housing Element. But the Housing Element does not reveal how income is measured. According to Harold Bray, posting at Halfway to Concord, a welfare recipient receives $40,000 or more per year. If low-income people are receiving $40,000 or more per year, then why is there any need for a Housing Element in Orinda or anywhere else?
Yet, on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, the Orinda City Council was given the City Council Staff Report, a 181-page draft document giving information about Orinda’s Housing Element.
The document was submitted by Emmanuel Ursu, Orinda’s Director of Planning. The document was approved by Janet Keeter, the City Manager.
According to the document: “The purpose of the Housing Element is to ensure that an adequate supply of housing is provided for current and future residents of Orinda.” The document adds: “The Element is intended to benefit all Orinda households, with a particular emphasis on seniors, persons with disabilities, and persons of low and moderate incomes.”
On page 83 (also listed as page 3-25), the document defines various income categories.
“Extremely low income” is defined as $26,790. “Very low income” is $44,650. “Lower income” is $71,440. “Median income” is $89,300. “Moderate income” is $107,160.
The Orinda report states that the income figures are based on 2009 data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The document adds (on page 83) that HUD income figures for 2012 are “5 percent higher.”
The report does not tell how income is measured.
Income from work can be supplemented by welfare benefits. These benefits include such income supplements as welfare payments, food stamps, health care (called Medical in California); housing assistance (often called Section 8 housing payments), and energy assistance programs.
According to Harold Bray, posting at Halfway to Concord, a welfare recipient receives $40,000 or more per year.
The Orinda report does not tell if the income levels mentioned on page 83 include supplemental welfare benefits.
According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in the United States in 2011 was $50,502.