Thursday, September 9, 2010

The aggregavation of housing...

Some things I do wonder about the world we reside in such as housing.  It seems to be the fabric of our communities since they offer shelter for all of us.  However, that necessity seems to be seen as a luxury by many bureaucratic paper-pushers.  In the case of the Metro Atlanta area, where nearly all the public housing developments have been demolished and replaces with high-end condominium development.  On the surface, this looks as if it is a good thing since public housing seems to attract all the "undesirable" elements in our nation's society, but on deeper look reveals that many of these people have no where else to turn aside from being homeless.  This within itself is disheartening because you have to evaluate the entire situation before casting a broad judgment on housing for low-income residents.

Since 2001, the Atlanta Housing Authority has practically eliminated all the public housing in Atlanta (gotta love gentrification and its side effects).  Now suburban Marietta, in Cobb County, its housing authority is doing the same and hopes to shutter and demolish all public housing by 2012.  The replacements for such developments were vouchers given to former residents so they could either get into senior housing for older residents or at-market rate private housing or apartments for others.

On the other hand, the realization that most of the vouchers only pay for only 65% of such living costs associated with housing puts these people in a tougher situation.  Many people don't have the luxury of being able to afford private apartment, which most decent ones start at $600/month in rent in Metro Atlanta.  The lack of affordable housing is seriously lacking nationwide, but particularly in the South.  Ironically, most of those suffering from this dilemma are our fellow non-white citizens.

I know it's wonderful to see cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Memphis, and other Southern cities move from their past images as low-income, crime-ridden places with projects everywhere.  However, you should never go from one extreme to another where you are pricing out your own residents to appease a reluctant crowd of non-natives of the city to move there.  It creates a new vacuum where you continuously force those whom need government assistance to another rough place.  There needs to be some type of median place where we can create affordable housing and not go from one extreme to another.

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