In August 2010, there was a near-riot in Atlanta, Georgia, when 30,000 people stood in long lines in the sun in 90+ degrees heat, just for a chance to obtain an application form for a Section 8 public housing voucher. Some had waited in line for two days for the applications.
Like everywhere in America, public (i.e., taxpayer-paid) housing is in great demand in New Orleans.
In the wake of the terrible Hurricane Katrina disaster that put so much of the city of New Orleans under water, the federal government labored to provide public housing for the disaster victims and the poor. According to a report by D. Weaver for Nola.com, Dec. 18, 2007, Department of Housing and Development officials assured residents that the local public housing supply greatly outstripped demand, 1,762 public housing units were occupied and nearly 300 were available or within weeks of being ready at 8 Housing Authority of New Orleans complexes and at other scattered housing authority sites. Another 802 public housing units across the city were being repaired and would be put to use in the coming year.
In addition to the units available or scheduled to open soon, federal and local housing officials said their agencies would provide a total of 3,343 public housing units in the next 4 to 5 years, including nearly 900 units in planned mixed-income developments. The “mixed-income developments” would include 900 market-rate rental units and 900 homes for sale, many of which would be reserved for first-time home buyers, with financial subsidies designed to allow former public housing families to become property owners.
But public housing advocates were not satisfied. They complained that the target of 3,343 public housing units in New Orleans is still a drop of about one-third from the 5,100 units occupied before Hurricane Katrina.
Public housing officials responded that other demands for housing can be met through use of vouchers that can be used for private apartments that are inspected by the government. Nevertheless, housing activists complained that the “poor conditions” of those private apartments “deter renters,” that is, free-loaders.
Regardless of the conditions, many former public housing residents avoid privately owned apartments because they typically face utility and deposit expenses not charged in public housing.
The housing activists, aka Alinsky community organizers, then trooped out a victim of the “poor conditions” of those taxpayer-subsidized private apartments.
Meet Sharon Jasper, a former St. Bernard complex resident, who bitterly complained about her subsidized private apartment, which she called a “slum.”
Although a government voucher covered her rent on a unit in an old Faubourg St. John home, she griped about having to pay several hundred dollars in deposit charges and a steep utility bill.
Jasper said: “I might be poor but I don’t like to live poor. I thank God for a place to live but it’s pitiful what people give you. I’m tired of the slum landlords, and I’m tired of the slum houses.” Pointing across the street to an encampment of homeless people at Duncan Plaza, she said, “I might do better out here with one of these tents.”
Jasper allowed a photographer to tour the subsidized apartment. She complained about missing window screens, a slow leak in a sink, and a warped back door. The reporter noted that her subsidized apartment “otherwise appeared to have been recently renovated.”
H/t beloved Wendy.
To Sharon Jasper:
I’m one of the suckers who pay for your “subsidized” rent-free apartment, being among the 53% of Americans who still pay federal income taxes. My husband and I paid for our house with decades of hard work and savings. We don’t have a 60″ HD TV!