|Multi Request||Access to Public Housing for Formerly Incarcerated People|
|Submitted||Oct. 20, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act, I hereby request the following records:
-Currently valid policies/procedures relating to public housing and Section 8 housing assistance eligibility for applicants on the basis of arrest/conviction record
-Currently valid eviction policies/procedures for tenants in public housing and Section 8 housing units
-Currently valid policies/procedures regarding obtaining criminal conviction records from law enforcement agencies and sex offender registration information from the appropriate state/local agency responsible for the maintenance of sex offender registration program
-Any reports compiling the data of applicants to public housing and Section 8 housing assistance from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017
-Any reports compiling the data of public housing and Section 8 housing assistance denials and the basis of those denials between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
-Any logs of police reports related to activity in public housing and Section 8-subsidized units between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
-Any grievances/complaints of discrimination submitted between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 including any of the following words/phrases:
Please provide materials on a rolling basis, as they become available.
If you have any questions, please feel free to clarify via phone at 610-637-7745.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Georgia Open Records Act request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 20, 2018. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
The Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia ("Atlanta Housing" or "AH") responds here to your records request, which we received on October 31, 2018, wherein you sought:
· Current policies/procedures related to public housing and Section 8 (Housing Choice) assistance eligibility for applicants on the bases of arrest/conviction records.
· Eviction (termination) policies/procedures for tenants in public housing and Section 8 (Housing Choice).
· Policies/procedures for obtaining criminal conviction records from law enforcement agencies and sex offender registration information from the appropriate state/local agency responsible for the maintenance of sex offender registration program.
· Reports compiling the data of applicants to public housing and Section 8 (Housing Choice) assistance from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
· Reports compiling the data of public housing and Section 8 (Housing Choice) denials and the basis for those denials between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.
· Logs of police reports related to activity in public housing and Section 8 (Housing Choice) units between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.
Please find attached hereto Atlanta Housing's 2018 Statement of Corporate Policies, which sets forth, among other policies, Criminal History Screening (Chapter 1, Article 15, pages 12-14); Screening of Applicants and Residents for Public Housing and Dispute Process for Adverse Criminal History Decisions (Chapter 2, Part II, Art. 6-7, pages 28-31), and Program Terminations (and Denials) for the Housing Choice Tenant-Based Voucher Program (formerly known as "Section 8")(Chapter 3, Part VII, pages 47-50). These sections set forth the policies for denials and terminations of assistance in each program.
We are currently searching for documents regarding the obtaining of criminal conviction records and sex offender registration information. Please keep in mind that the processes for the obtaining of criminal histories of individuals who apply for, or are recipients of federally-funded housing benefits, are governed by federal regulations, including 24 CFR § 5.9003, which requires all public housing authorities (such as Atlanta Housing) to require every applicant family to submit a consent form signed by each adult household member stating that they consent that any law enforcement agency may release conviction records concerning the adult household member. We would encourage you to view this federal regulation online.
We are also currently searching for reports compiling the data of applicants to public housing and the Housing Choice program for 2017. We will provide any reports that we locate that are not subject to exemption from production. We are prohibited from disclosing the names of any applicants or program participants by law. The disclosure of records regarding a person's status as a recipient of public housing assistance from a public housing authority is an invasion of that individual's personal privacy. Under the Open Records Act, a public entity cannot provide records when the disclosure would be an invasion of personal privacy. OCGA §50-18-72(a)(2). Georgia courts have recognized that "[w]hile this state has a strong policy of open government, there is a corresponding policy for protecting the right of the individual to personal privacy." Harris v. Cox Enterprises, 256 Ga. 299, 301(1986). "References to matters about which the public has, in fact and in law, no legitimate concern, though found in a public document, are not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act because they are not the subject of 'legitimate public inquiry.'" Id. See also Bowers v. Shelton, 265 Ga. 247, 251(1995) (holding that personal financial records are protected from public disclosure.). If we locate documents showing the number of applicants for 2017, the number of denials, and the reasons for those denials, we will provide them. We have not gotten far enough along to decipher whether such documents exist, but expect to hear from us within the next ten business days. AH does not possess logs of police reports related to activity in public housing or Housing Choice units.
Pursuant to statutory law, AHA charges an hourly administrative fee for the search, retrieval, review and copying of responsive documents. This administrative fee is $20.00 per hour. Copies are provided at a cost of 10 cents per page. The first ¼ hour of administrative time is provided at no charge to you. Since the total cost of this response is less than $20, we are waiving the fees for this request. There may be a fee associated with the gathering of documents responsive to some of your requests as we go forward. Feel free to call me at (404) 817-7217 with any questions or concerns.
David E. Langford | Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Administrative Hearings
Office of the General Counsel
Atlanta Housing (AH)
230 John Wesley Dobbs Ave., NE | Atlanta, GA 30303
Voice (direct) 404.817-7217
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Atlanta Housing | 230 JW Dobbs Ave | Atlanta, GA 30303
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