The House of Representatives approved housing legislation yesterday that includes an amendment to assist the formation of tenant management groups such as the one at the Kenilworth-Parkside public housing complex in Northeast.
The amendment, cosponsored by Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.) and Rep. Jack F. Kemp (R-N.Y.), also would exempt the tenant groups from some government regulations that tend to increase a project's operating cost.
The legislation, called the Housing Act of 1986, was approved by the House by a vote of 340 to 36.
The Fauntroy-Kemp proposal authorizes $1.5 million to assist in the formation of tenant management groups and would provide a maximum of $100,000 to individual tenant groups.
Labor groups had lobbied against the measure after Fauntroy introduced a proposal that would have exempted the tenant management groups from paying the prevailing wage, generally equal to the union scale in the metropolitan area.
However, labor dropped its opposition on Wednesday after Rep. Bruce A. Morrison (D-Conn.) proposed changes to require housing authorities that have contracts with tenant management groups to honor collective bargaining agreements. In addition, tenants employed by the tenant management groups would be paid the prevailing wage but would be allowed to donate a portion of their work time.
The House voted 419 to 1 on Wednesday to add the amendment to the legislation.
"I am extremely pleased with the action taken by the House on my amendment," Fauntroy said. "It is a landmark action by the Congress and it will provide the opportunity for the kind of savings that have been demonstrated by the Kenilworth-Parkside project."
Since taking over management of Kenilworth-Parkside, the tenants have reported a marked increase in rent collections and a 60 percent reduction in administrative costs.