Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here We Go Again; Another one from the vault.

G-Bitch posted this A Quote and Not-So-Random Ranting. She deftly points out a major problem with Public Housing in New Orleans. U.S. District Judge Peter Beer said,
"The central tragedy here is that their callous and indifferent 'leadership' was not unlike that which stalked our city generally after Hurricane Katrina," Beer wrote. "That same, self-serving, uncaring, 'pass the buck' bureaucratic swampland followed the examples set by city, state and federal officials."
He also pointed to inside dealing for the benefit of the few.
Beer issued a two-page opinion that blasted River Garden, saying that for more than a year after Katrina it leased units meant for St. Thomas residents to HANO management employees at rates designed only for low- or no-income occupants.
I've publicly advocated housing vouchers or subsidies paid directly to the tenants. All current programs I'm aware of involve paying either private landlords or public agencies to accept poor people. In these programs there is no incentive to provide service to the tenants. The road to higher profits is through lower costs, not more tenants.

Based on a very simple analysis it cost HANO $850 per month per unit for each unit authorized in 2004, and many authorized units were not occupied. The cost per occupied unit could not be easily determined. Since Public funding differs from private funding the costs could be either significantly more or less depending on how the cost of capital is calculated.

If subsidized tenants were given a market rate voucher, they would have an incentive to find the best hosing available. Landlords would have an incentive to compete with quality housing since the tenants could move if they elected to. The city would benefit by integrating communities.

There is a side benefit that many current housing programs concentrate not only the poor but the defenseless and poorly socialized into a few designated areas. This concentrates the most vulnerable together with the least socialized families most likely to create asocial individuals. It also segregates these people from from healthy families and communities, which some may see as a benefit.

The final and primary reason for market rate vouchers is that, if they had been authorized two and a half years ago, landlords and flippers would have used that to obtain private financing for renovations and repairs. There would have been an identifiable, profitable market for new units.

Instead we now have people sitting on the sidelines waiting for Blakeley to bestow the benefits of his largess.

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