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This post was originally posted at FRS FreeStateNow on Blogger
When public housing became part of the LBJ Great Society in the late 1960s, it was created with the best intentions in the world to give low-income people, who otherwise would not have been able to afford a home, a place to stay, and to that extent public housing has been very successful in America and has prevented millions of people and families from being homeless and otherwise putting pressure on our already overcrowded private homeless shelters.
But public housing in America has had major drawbacks as well, forcing low-income people to live on top of each other in rundown housing projects in rundown neighborhoods in highly impoverished areas with high crime rates, forcing people to live in ghettos with no hope of making a better life for themselves and their families and forcing their children to attend bad schools and face the same future as their parents, even if they managed to finish school.
I would like to literally tear down every rotten housing project in America, move the residents out to better homes, and then proceed to tear down the housing projects in every rundown neighborhood in America and rebuild those properties to attract businesses for job creation--something constructive.
Then I would like to transform the current public housing authorities in America into an independent nonprofit national organization whose sole purpose would be to provide affordable housing to low-income people. This organization would be independent of the Federal Government, again with its own management, board of directors, finances, and budget.
Then I would like to stop all housing projects from being built in bad neighborhoods and give low- income people the option of living in middle class neighborhoods, where all of the new housing projects would be built. They would be decent places to live, with the infrastructure of a decent neighborhood, schools, grocery stores, parks, etc. so low-income and their families could experience something other then poverty, crime, and rotten schools.
Since this national organization for public housing would no longer be operated by the Federal, State, or local governments, it would need its own revenue source. I would finance this by its residents and their employers each chipping in, let's say, 50% of the residents' welfare payments, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or Social Security, and then be eligible for a housing voucher to cover the other part of their housing costs. People who receive housing assistance wouldn't have to live in public housing but could use that money to live in private housing but be responsible for the costs that their housing assistance doesn't cover.
We need to take a better look at how we help people in poverty and actually do what's in their best interest instead of just writing checks and hoping their problems go away. We need to use public assistance to empower people to improve their lives and become self-sufficient so they no longer need public assistance.