The Bigger Picture, Issue 28

Hello again, faithful readers! Welcome to this week’s issue of The Bigger Picture! There’s some huge news for Georgia residents needing housing assistance below, and a few other nuggets of noteworthy notions.


SourceAmerica and AbilityOne Being Investigated by Feds

CNN is calling it “what sources say could be the biggest fraud case ever in a U.S. government agency.” The Daily Beast’s headline says they are accused of “running like the Mafia”. There’s no doubt that SourceAmerica and AbilityOne are in some serious hot water with the Department of Justice. These agencies work together to provide contracts and employees to companies whose work force is comprised of at least 75% employees that have a significant disability. But there are major allegations of fraud, cronyism, favortism and downright theft. This article from The Daily Beast is from August and details some of the initial troubles the two organizations were found to be knee-deep in. But this more recent article from CNN–which includes a news video–details even further the problems that are coming to light. Read and watch for yourself, and tell us what you think in the comments below.


 

Section 8 Housing Voucher Program Opening on Feb. 1

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This is big, big, BIG news!! The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program for Georgia has been widely closed for a very long time. Many people needing assistance with housing have been waiting for a while to get assistance from the Section 8 program. Well, the time has come! Below is a release from the Department of Community Affairs for the Section 8 Wait List Opening:

“The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will be accepting Preliminary Applications for its Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) beginning February 1, 2016 at 12:01 AM until February 7, 2016 at 11:59 PM. Preliminary applications are being accepted for all 149 counties that we serve. Preliminary Applications will only be accepted electronically through our system.

If you would like to apply to our wait list(s), a link to apply will be available at the bottom of the page during the term of the wait list opening. If you require assistance completing the preliminary application, you can call our applications assistance line at 888-858-6085. They will complete your preliminary application over the phone or to answer any general questions about the program or the application process. The application assistance line is available 24 hours a day until February 7, 2016 at 11:59 PM. You may also visit the DCA website at www.dca.ga.gov for general program information. Attached to this web page is a list of frequently asked questions that could further answer any questions that you may have.

There is no advantage to applying on the first day. Applications will be entered into a lottery and a drawing will be held to determine the random ranking of the preliminary applications on the wait list(s).

No duplicate applications will be accepted. All applications must be complete including correct social security numbers and date of birth for each family member, including minors.

Please be advised that providing false information, including claiming a residency preference for which you do not qualify, is considered fraud and could result in your name being flagged as ineligible for rental assistance through this agency.

Once the wait list(s) closes, please visit this website in four weeks to check back to see if you were selected to the lottery wait list.  You must have your confirmation number in order to check your lottery application status. You may also call our Application Assistance Line at 888-858-6085 to check your status.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs is committed to affirmatively furthering fair housing by providing equal access to all of its programs, service and activities regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability or age. Any individual, who needs an accommodation because of a disability, should contact DCA’s Housing Assistance Division’s Section 504 Coordinator: 60 Executive Park South NE, Atlanta, GA 30329-2231 or by calling 1-800-359-4663 or TDD 1-877-204-1194.”


Free Income Tax Prep for People Who Are Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing through GACHI

From the Gerogia Council for the Hearing Impaired: “Tax time is quickly approaching! GACHI is Partnering with the IRS to set up Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) where IRS will do your taxes for free. An ASL interpreter will be provided! Anyone interested in this free service should contact their nearest GACHI office. We need to know how many are interested before we can set up locations, dates, times and interpreters. So please email or call nearest GACHI today. We must have enough people interested in order to set up multiple sites for this service. So if you want them to come to your area you need to let us know. CALL TODAY!” For contact information for particular areas of Georgia, please visit GACHI’s website at this link.


 

Good stuff this week, right? The opening of Section 8 is a huge deal, and hopefully a good sign of other programs opening back up in the state of Georgia. Stay warm, folks, and we’ll see you next week!

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