- Saving Public Housing
Can NYCHA Be Saved?
Housing & Community Development Consultant
NYCHA's problems are not the problems of NYCHA alone. NYCHA's problem are like the fever blister when the body catches a cold. Our entire society is sick. NYCHA's endemic problems are just a visible sore spot. The general population of today is lost in the material world of physical beauty versus the not so beautiful, young versus old, techno gadgets and social media skills, mass communication devices, long distance vacations, gossiping sound bites and all of it which requires money and always more of it. Corporate consumer culture has run a muck and has turned many into frivolous fools attached to material possessions alone. We are squandering the true spiritual laws of life and the old religions seem corny and out of touch. In the wake of the industrial revolution and now the techno revolution the 100 years bombardment of consumer products advertising has taken its toll. It has taken humanities identities to the extremes of one sided materialism and the issues of public housing - concentrated poverty - are simply an eyesore of a bygone highly discriminatory economic era, long overlooked and forgotten but always present. Housing policy itself is now thought of in terms of regionalism along lines of public transit and mixed income communities. The vast concentrations of public housing within the city boundaries no longer work neither socially nor economically. We as a human species have lots of work to do in adjusting ourselves to the universal interconnectedness we all live in together as a common human race. We can no longer simply ignore the side effects of our one sided celebration of material acquisitions at the expense of "those others". During this time of monopoly and oligarchy capitalism, social welfare policies and the fair redistribution of opportunity and wealth, love, compassion and empathy for all is the only solution to the problems of humanity. New York City's public housing was built by a well known racist, Robert Moses, at a time when racism, social and economic discrimination was a well institutionalized practice within the public policy. In the final analysis the source of all of our social problems was never in our pocket books but rather in our heads and hearts. We need to put the inner dignity of all peoples lives above profits, boozy partying and ego trips. We need a strong higher consciousness to prevail in society.
I have mixed feelings about New York City's public housing, having lived in one when I was a struggling college student raising a family, and now full circle back to be a caretaker for my 92 year old mother. Public housing's tenant income mix has been and will continue to be a conundrum, the ethical dilemmas it poses are daunting, the challenges of making it work financially impossible to meet (without destroying its mission of housing the poor and working class) in the political and economic climate we're in right now and for the foreseable future. So, in my view, the issue should not be to "save" public housing but to advocate for a real affordable housing Marshall Plan in New York City, that competes with public housing. With a vacancy rate of less than 1% it's a cruel hoax to offer any working family hopes of getting into an apartment. The NYCHA is a collosal bureaucracy with putrid patronage and mediocre attention to physical plant maintenance. I know first hand that the odious esthetics of public housing are not entirely the fault of uncaring or irresponsible tenants - a minority for sure. So don't look to Bloomberg or the private sector for a solution. Advocates need to organize for a greater share of the public purse and a universal affordable housing answer to the perennial housing squeeze in the Big Apple.
ARCHIVESVIEW FULL ARCHIVE
- Gentrification Goes Global by Andrew J. Padilla
Posted on June 19, 2013
- Lessons from the History of Poverty by Ralph da Costa Nunez and Ethan Sribnick
Posted on June 13, 2013
- Adoption Subsidies: Family or Fraud? by Dawn Post
Posted on June 07, 2013
- Fair Share and Supportive Housing by Jay Shuffield
Posted on May 28, 2013
- Developing Public Housing Land by Tom Angotti
Posted on May 09, 2013
ABOUT CITY CONVERSATIONS
City Conversations is City Limits' forum for meaningful dialogue on the social, political, and policy issues that shape critical civic issues. City Conversation gives readers first-hand access to the opinions of leading academics, advocates and policymakers, as well as let you sound off on the topics that matter to you most.
Gentrification Goes Global
Lessons from the History of Poverty
Adoption Subsidies: Family or Fraud?
Fair Share and Supportive Housing
Developing Public Housing Land
High-Conflict Custody Battles
Career and Technical Education in NYC
The Homelessness Crisis
Should NYC Citizens Be Lawmakers?
Violence and Safety at School
- Tom Angotti
- Tamara Steckler
- Susanna Blankley and Lindsay Cattell
- Suleiman Osman
- Steve Lilienthal
- Soffiyah Elijah
- Shaun Donovan
- Sarah Crean
- Samuel I. Schwartz
- Ron Dembo
- Roman Shteyn
- Roberta Brandes Gratz
- Robert Walsh
- Robert V. Hess
- Robert Jackson
- Robert Gangi
- Robert Doar
- Richard Lipsky
- Ralph da Costa Nunez and Ethan Sribnick
- Ralph da Costa Nunez