Press Conference and Rally: End SDHC Section 8 Discrimination

San-Diego-Section-8-Map-1

The above map shows how the SDHC forces Section 8 voucher holders into neighborhoods where people of color have been concentrated for a century.


After being sued by NAACP and San Diego Tenant Union for the racially discriminatory manner in which San Diego Housing Commission administers its housing voucher program, the Housing Commission received a 14 percent increase in funding for this program–$20 million annually–due to fair market rents going up. However, instead of keeping up with fair market rent, the Housing Commission instead made the gap even larger between what a voucher is worth and how much it actually costs to rent a home.

The disparity between what it costs to rent a unit and what the Housing Commission sets as a voucher level is especially pronounced in high-income, predominantly white neighborhoods. The Housing Commission intentionally sets voucher levels to more closely match market rents in low-income, racially segregated neighborhoods.

The actions SDHC took on July 1, 2019, denies housing opportunities to low-income families with Section 8 vouchers, and perpetuates racial segregation.

The lawsuit plaintiffs (the NAACP San Diego Branch, the San Diego Tenant Union, and Darlisa McDowell) and their counsel (Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Esq., Bryan Pease, Esq., and Jim Crosby, Esq.) will hold a press conference outside the next Housing Commission meeting:

Where: Sidewalk outside of SDHC, 1122 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
When: 10 a.m. Thursday, July 18, 2019

The disparity between the voucher level and what the Housing Commission sets as a voucher level is especially pronounced in high-income, predominantly white neighborhoods. The Housing Commission intentionally sets voucher levels to more closely match market rents in low-income, racially segregated neighborhoods.

The actions SDHC took on July 1, 2019, denies housing opportunities to low-income families with Section 8 vouchers, and perpetuates racial segregation. 

The lawsuit plaintiffs (the NAACP San Diego Branch, the San Diego Tenant Union and Darlisa McDowell) and their counsel (Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Esq and Bryan Pease, Esq) will hold a press conference outside the next Housing Commission meeting:

Where: Sidewalk outside of SDHC, 1122 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
When: 10 a.m. Thursday, July 18, 2019

NAACP San Diego Branch Goes to Court over Section 8

Please join us at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, June 26 at the City Administration Building, 202 C Street, for a press conference regarding the lawsuit.

The NAACP, along with the San Diego Tenant Union and Darlisa McDowell have filed a civil rights, racial discrimination lawsuit against the San Diego Housing Commission. The San Diego Housing Commission’s actions setting Section 8 vouchers significantly below market rent perpetuate racial segregation in violation of state and federal law.  

The San Diego Housing Commission’s actions prevent thousands of families with Section 8 vouchers—a population in which racial minorities are overrepresented—from living in high-opportunity, low-poverty neighborhoods that are predominantly white. San Diego Housing Commission’s actions force families with Section 8 vouchers into rental units in segregated, high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods.  

The goal of the lawsuit is to require the San Diego Housing Commission to increase Section 8 voucher levels to allow families with Section 8 to rent units throughout the City instead of in only segregated, high-poverty areas. 

In 2016, the Obama Administration targeted San Diego because of its high concentration of Section 8 voucher participants living in concentrated, segregated low-income neighborhoods. San Diego was one of the only 24 metropolitan areas nationwide that the Obama Administration targeted. The Obama Administration directed these areas to de-segregate by using a different voucher calculation method. The San Diego Housing Commission announced that it would not follow the Obama-era desegregation method because it considered the Obama-era policy to be “nothing more than social engineering.”  The parties condemn these statements. 

For more information, please write [email protected].

The Year of the Housing Lawsuit

San Diego governmental agencies are no strangers to housing discrimination lawsuits this year.  Two separate lawsuits have been filed alleging that our government is perpetuating the concentration of poverty, largely in areas that, due to the region’s long history of segregation, are populated by people of color, including African-Americans.

The first discrimination lawsuit was filed in State court by the San Diego Tenants Union against the San Diego Housing Commission.  It alleges the Housing Commission’s policies regarding Section 8 vouchers concentrate poverty in areas where people of color live.  (The NAACP San Diego Branch has been seeking permission to join this lawsuit for two months; our National organization is promising us an answer “soon.”)

The most recent lawsuit was filed by local residents in Federal court.  It also addresses the San Diego Housing Commission’s handling of Section 8 vouchers, but throws in a grab bag of other claims, including one about the Live Well Center being slated for Southeast San Diego.

Do you have thoughts about housing in San Diego?  Want to get involved in ensuring fair access to housing for all?  Join our Housing Committee; email [email protected].