The Santa Clara County Housing Authority quietly updated its website to remove a sentence that discouraged people from submitting anonymous fraud claims.
A previous version stated: “We cannot accept or investigate any allegation if you do not provide your name and contact information.”
As of today, that line is gone.
Although, the PDF fraud claim form linked on the page still relays that message over a line asking for name and address or phone number. “This information is required,” it reads. “If you fail to provide contact information, this allegation may not be investigated.”
Last week, San Jose Inside highlighted the no-anonymous-tips language on the agency’s website, noting that it could be enough to scare tenants from reporting wrongdoing by property owners. Based on a review of websites for comparable public housing and social services agencies, it was an unusual condition.
While anonymous tips can be harder to investigate, they’re an important way to protect whistleblowers. Especially in cases with the kind of power disparities inherent in landlord-tenant relationships.