Rental housing had been on the agenda for the first forum, but the safety concerns took up almost all of the discussion time. So city officials decided to follow up with tomorrow's forum, this one at the El Campanil Theatre in downtown Antioch starting at 9 a.m. and going to about 12:30 p.m.
Concerns about rental housing problems - particularly federally subsidized Section 8 housing - came to the fore in recent months after Councilman Jim Davis said he had heard numerous complaints about noise, crime, littering, unkempt yards, and wanted the city to look into taking control of Section 8.
Many homeowners consider this a blight on neighborhoods, driving down property values and making Antioch a less safe, less pleasant place to live and raise their children. In response to those concerns, city officials have recently beefed up enforcement of code violations in an effort to get property cleaned up, regardless of the occupant.
And a community group, United Citizens for Better Neighborhoods (UCBN), was formed to support the effort to crack down on problem landlords and renters and is now advocating for restrictions on Section 8 rentals, of which Antioch has a disproportionate share in the county.
UCBN leader Gary Gilbert is calling for a reform "… that will require Section 8 tenants to pay a minimum of 50 percent of their monthly rent, (and) limit the amount of time (five years) Section 8 tenants can remain on the program and receive federal subsidized housing (excluding senior citizens and the disabled)."
If this forum follows the process of the first, there will be brief comments from City Council members - officially it's a council meeting - presentations from city staff and a considerable amount of comments from the public.
City Manager Jim Jakel said the staff will provide an update on what is being done to help deal with the problems brought up at the first forum.
Consultant Larry Bienati, who facilitated the first forum, will do so again. About 200 people attended the first forum and the El Campanil was booked this time in anticipation of a larger turnout. The doors will open at 8:30 am.
Rivertown will be hopping tomorrow because the Delta Blues Festival will be starting up just down the street from the El Campanil just as the Quality of Life Forum is winding down.