Housing Authority Removes Language Discouraging Anonymous Fraud Claims

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.”

Source: scchousingauthority.org

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.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

7 Comments

  1. > The Santa Clara County Housing Authority quietly updated its website to remove a sentence that discouraged people from submitting anonymous fraud claims.

    So the gubbermint is supposed to investigate or DO SOMETHING about anonymous complaints against landlords?

    Institutionalized harassment of landlords.

    This will really help reduce the housing shortage and lower rents.

  2. Santa Clara County is highly corrupted at any level. Those in charge of hiring should check themselves because they are obviously not hiring the most talented for the job but the most talented for stealing and corrupted behaviors. Santa Clara County reminds me of Mexico and other Latino American countries where are not the talented that are hired to do the job, but the best connected through their socioeconomic status, through their parents, political group and so on. Then you find the talented going to work to retail or other non-professional position because the professional positions are filled by the best connected. In the legal system those best connected and/or with money are most likely to have access to justice. In the case of the privileged males, they can even get away with sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes low income males would receive a heavy sentence. A holistic systemic audit of this county’s departments is urgently necessary via governmental entities or media scrutiny.

    • > Santa Clara County is highly corrupted at any level.

      FEXXY:

      Speaking of corruption, could you check with the Santa Clara County government and other local governments and see what they are doing with the CRV deposits that are collected by beverage retailers like Safeway for recycling beverage containers?

      It appears that there is no longer any recycling going on. Yet the CRV money seems to be piling up . . . SOMEWHERE.

      Do you think our public officials are taking good care of the money that’s piling up? Do you think they are going to return it some day?

    • I hope you vote for better candidates that the ones in office. This is the most efficient way to remove them.

  3. I would try to check. I have little time. I rely on word of mouth of insiders. I do think public officials steal the tax payers money by gross misuse of it. Are they going to return it? That is a funny thought.

  4. It’s the government that created the monopoly system and dire housing shortage that makes it a rental-owners market. The system was enacted to ensure a dire housing shortage and wage stagnation. This ensures ever-increasing property tax revenue to government and ever-increasing debt service to the corrupt financial system that is now running the show at the rotting fish heads wee call local, county, state, and federal government. The government has debt service too, and if you think Wall Street and the Fed are not using that to bend politicians to their will, and rental prices are just because landlords are greedy, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Of course a complaint cannot be anonymous to the government agency, but that agency should and can shield the reporter’s name from the subject of the investigation. This is done all the time in Code enforcement. All the County need do is build up awareness and trust that the name of the reporter will not be released to the accused. The only exception is if there is a prosecution. We all have a right to stand and face our accusers in Court. This is a fundamental principle of a just society, and I reject your “social justice power inequity” argument for stripping away that right from anyone, let alone landlords.

    Requiring the name of a complainer is absolutely needed. Frivolous vandalism and a lot of wasted valuable time will result if mischievous folks can file serial false allegations and the County won’t even ask for a name to verify the compliant before interrogating the owner. You are proposing the modern version of the crank and prank phone calls that beset anonymous tips lines until they got smart and made it a crime to make false allegations. If you want anyone to be able to complain with complete anonymity, then it must also be required that false complaints from non-tenants will result in a misdemeanor and fine, and frivolous repeat complaints from actual tenants will result in a warning and then a misdemeanor and fine if they persist. This is only fair, because it is everyone’s tax dollars that are at stake in investigating complaints.

  5. Of course a complaint cannot be anonymous to the government agency, but that agency should and can shield the reporter’s name from the subject of the investigation. This is done all the time in Code enforcement. All the County need do is build up awareness and trust that the name of the reporter will not be released to the accused. The only exception is if there is a prosecution. We all have a right to stand and face our accusers in Court. This is a fundamental principle of a just society, and I reject your “social justice power inequity” argument for stripping away that right from anyone, let alone landlords.

    Requiring the name of a complainer is absolutely needed. Frivolous vandalism and a lot of wasted valuable time will result if mischievous folks can file serial false allegations and the County won’t even ask for a name to verify the compliant before interrogating the owner. You are proposing the modern version of the crank and prank phone calls that beset anonymous tips lines until they got smart and made it a crime to make false allegations. If you want anyone to be able to complain with complete anonymity, then it must also be required that false complaints from non-tenants will result in a misdemeanor and fine, and frivolous repeat complaints from actual tenants will result in a warning and then a misdemeanor and fine if they persist. This is only fair, because it is everyone’s tax dollars that are at stake in investigating complaints.

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