Zero Tolerance

The Washington Post’s Courtland Milloy tells the story of Frances Johnson, an elderly woman facing eviction from public housing after police arrested her grandson for gambling in the street, then found a small amount of marijuana under his mattress. The marijuana ran afoul of a “one strike” policy which holds public housing recipients accountable for crimes committed by the people living with them.

Johnson is a good example of how in additional to being cruel, the “one strike” policy is counterproductive. Johnson is known in her community for her work with at-risk youth, including taking her grandson and some other children into her home several years ago after they were traumatized after witnessing a paramilitary drug raid.

Wonder how many people in public housing will follow Johnson’s lead of mentoring to at risk kids, including taking some into their homes, if they risk eviction should one of those kids commit a crime?

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  • Guy Montag||

    Isn't the another tragedy here that there is still "public housing" and another that the government treats its guests as inmates?

  • Taktix&#174||

    I could care less how the public housing system operates as it shouldn't exist in the first place.

    That being said, should she really be surprised that such a "compassionate" government program would be so callous?

  • Guy Montag||

    Another note: the housing is located in DC, far from a hotbed of Conservative jackbooted thuggery. (just heading off at the pass the incorrect assumptions of others)

  • ||

    The law's the law, however, this case is a little unfair.

  • ||

    If he was arrested in the street, how did they find the pot under his mattress? This is why the only thing you should ever say to a LEO is "I don't consent to any searches" and "I want a lawyer"

  • Elemenope||

    See there, Juanita, there's one of those great examples where the second half of one's sentence contradicts the entire portion that preceded it.

    If the law's the law, then there can be no room for whiny pinko-liberal "but that's unfair" mewling. Pick one and stick.

  • Guy Montag||

    This little law is unfair.

    See? And I don't even have editors.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Damn. Juanita is brutal. Are you affiliated with law enforcement Juanita?

  • ||

    Any of you humanitarians want to shell out to buy public housing and let people that poor live there? The government would love you to step up, they'd probably give 'em away for free.

  • ||

    That's odd, the archives don't have any stories about private landlords kicking out people unfairly.

    Hm. I guess this isn't the Tenants Advocacy Movement blog after all.

    (Yeah, it's a stupid policy. Shoehorning this into a libertoid screed against the existance of public housing is lame.)

  • ||

    joe, I hear that's just what The Donald is doing in New York, he's even refurbishing the apartments and public areas.

    Of course, he's also doubling the rent, but I guess we can't have everyhitng.

  • ||

    Wonder how many people in public housing will follow Johnson's lead of mentoring to at risk kids, including taking some into their homes, if they risk eviction should one of those kids commit a crime?

    ummmm, none?

  • Guy Montag||

    [evil Snidley Whiplash voice]

    That's odd, the archives don't have any stories about private landlords kicking out people unfairly.

    Because that is almost impossible. Why do you think they are called landLORDS, huh? Jeesh, whoever gave the serfs the right to speak publically needs to be flogged and hanged.

    [/evil Snidley Whiplash voice]

  • Guy Montag||

    Jon Bon Jovi is making affordable housing and rehabilitating neighborhoods in Philly. Plus, his arena football team is a big athlete and family-fun-day charity too.

  • ||

    Wonder how many people in public housing will follow Johnson's lead of mentoring to at risk kids, including taking some into their homes, if they risk eviction should one of those kids commit a crime?


    I find it interesting that both "crimes" were consensual crimes (gambling and drug use/possession). Not only is she being kicked out for something she didn't do, it's for something that shouldn't be a crime in the first place. Too bad that any uproar that comes from this won't, you know, address that issue.

  • ||

    Habitat for humanity?

  • ||

    I like the assumption that if we didn't have public housing owned and operated by the government that
    1) We'd have all these people running around with nowhere to live
    2) Nobody would do anything about it

  • Guy Montag||

    Too bad all this "public housing" has almost extinguished relatives taking in their down-on-their-luck relatives too.

  • Guy Montag||

    Reinmoose,

    Like the assumption that "lost jobs" means that those people never find other work?

  • ||

    Kwix, Guy Who Didn't Type a Name,

    First, yeah, doubling the rent is a bit of a problem when the point is to provide housing for poor people.

    Second, Habitat for Humanity is great, but they don't have the money to take over the public housing system, and continue to provide housing of last resort, either.

    This is certainly one area where privatized administration has worked, though.

  • Neil||

    She's just lucky she's not going to jail for corrupting a minor and harboring a criminal.

  • ||

    I'm not sure where in the constitution federally funded public housing is mentioned as a fundamental right of all citizens. It sucks, but tough titty.

  • ||

    OOooh! I like that one too.

    Or like the assumption that if we didn't have laws against cocain and heroine that everyone would be running around on drugs all the time and our society would collapse!

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    The last thing "someone did about it" was Hoovertown.

    They didn't drive people out of four bedroom ranches in Levittown to liver in these places, you know. People live there because it's the best choice they have.

  • ||

    take the "e" off of heroine and put it on the cocain please.

  • thoreau||

    Hi Cesar!

  • ||

    Actually, most public housing was initially built as veterans' housing, because there was such an emergency shortage for demobilized military personnel after World War Two.

    It's not the simple story the least-well-read ideologues usually assume.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Neeeeeiiiillllllll!!!!!

    *shakes fist in the air*

  • ||

    They didn't drive people out of four bedroom ranches in Levittown to liver in these places, you know. People live there because it's the best choice they have.

    Oh stop
    Remember the part about "if we didn't have public housing owned and operated by the government?" Why would I do something about it now if it's already being taken care of?
    You don't think that if we didn't have things like food stamps that charities wouldn't pick up a lot of the slack?

  • Naga Sadow||

    John-David,

    Necessary and proper clause. Read it and weep.

  • Guy Montag||

    I'm not sure where in the constitution federally funded public housing is mentioned as a fundamental right of all citizens. It sucks, but tough titty.

    Do you mean that you do not see in the Constitution where the federal government was granted this enumerated powere by the States or the People?

  • ||

    They didn't drive people out of four bedroom ranches in Levittown to liver in these places, you know. People live there because it's the best choice they have.

    Of course, this sober realism vanishes when it comes to Wal*Mart employees and foreign sweatshop workers.

  • ||

    Technically, "housing of last resort" would be something along the lines of a rescue mission (Salvation Army, Waterfront Rescue, etc.).

    Personally, I view "public housing", particularly large projects, as actually worsening the situation rather than helping.

    Look at Cabrini Green in Chicago. At it's height there were 15,000 people living on 70 acres of land in the most economically depressed section of Chicago. For those who really wanted to work, there were few if any jobs nearby. For those who didn't, well there was no need to as the Government supplied both a roof and food with no time limits. Not exactly the "hand up" that welfare proponents espouse is it?

  • Episiarch||

    There's no way Cesar would resurrect Neil after getting outed.

  • ||

    Of course, this sober realism vanishes when it comes to Wal*Mart employees and foreign sweatshop workers.


    What are you going on about there Crimethink?

  • ||

    Neil was Cesar? When did this come to light? Damn this job, I miss all the good stuff these days.

  • Neil||

    Hi Cesar!

    It was my impression that the handle "Neil" had lapsed into the public domain and was then available to be used by any prick having a bad day.

  • ||

    Wouldn't it be more beneficial to have a system where communities take care of their own rather than a system where a cold foreign body takes money from people and offers the downtrodden housing in an isolated part of town? I know you don't subscirbe to the latter, but is public housing the best way to encourage the former?

  • ||

    Any of you humanitarians want to shell out to buy public housing and let people that poor live there?

    I have some big cardboard boxes in my basement I'm willing to contribute to the cause.

    That's odd, the archives don't have any stories about private landlords kicking out people unfairly.

    A private landlord who kicks someone out loses the rent check and has to recruit a new tenant, so that situation is self-policing.

    In public housing, on the other hand, each tenant is just another problem, so they don't give a shit if you get kicked out.

  • Guy Montag||

    [Snidley Whiplash voice]

    CP,

    sweatshop

    No, no, no! You really mean manufacturing facilities maximizing workspace efficiencies.

    [/Snidley Whiplash voice]

  • ||

    Reimoose,

    No, the size of the housing crisis after World War II was far beyond the existing charitable institutions' ability to handle.

    We didn't end up with a public housing system to take care of the people who were at the bottom of a normal housing market, like charity does.

  • Guy Montag||

    CP,

    Funny, you are beginnign to argue with someone who:

    1. Already has the government taking our money for these places.

    2. Is demanding that someone else take these people in, without volunteering himself.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Guy,

    Cut it out. Your going to make my over active imagination take root in your posts.

  • ||

    Kwix, Reinmoose,

    I agree completely with your criticisms of how public housing has been built and run.

    Yes, smaller-scaled, localized responses are better.

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    I know you don't subscirbe to the latter, but is public housing the best way to encourage the former?

    Chis P,

    In public housing, on the other hand, each tenant is just another problem, so they don't give a shit if you get kicked out.

    You're lumping a lot together under "public housing." Some works like that, some doesn't.

  • Guy Montag||

    [Snidley Whiplash voice]

    Yes, smaller-scaled, localized responses are better.

    Not as good as rail cars to my factories and mines! HAHAHAHA!

    Negan Shadow, here is an application for Engineer, or Conductor if you like.


    [Snidley Whiplash voice]

  • ||

    Is demanding that someone else take these people in, without volunteering himself.

    My solutin is to keep paying my taxes, make the public housing better, and support other housing programs that support people trying to secure it in the private market.

    Yours is to have people kicked out, and devil take the hindmost.

    So you'll excuse me if I don't consider Mount Montag to be the moral highground.

  • ||

    You know, you're actually less of a dick and more rational when you write as Snidely Whiplash, Guy.

  • ||

    I'm saying nothing about how it was created. I'm talking about how it's currently run.

    Veterans who were drafted, lots of them. I get it. But currently, is that really what we're using it for? No

  • Guy Montag||

    Yours is to have people kicked out, and devil take the hindmost.

    You left out "grind their bones to make your bread" and/or "greasing the cogs of industry with the blood of their children".

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    I'm saying nothing about how it was created. I'm talking about how it's currently run.

    The way (some of) it is currently run isn't anyone's grand scheme. We just sort of ended up here.

    Heck, if our public housing system had been created at part of the Great Socialist Conspiracy some postulate, it would probably look a lot more like those European countries that actually did set out to create a universal system of "social housing." That is, it would be a whole lot better than our public housing.

  • ||

    Again, I made no comment about how we got to this point. But the fact of the matter is that this isn't like social security where you can be like "oh it was a shame it was created but now all kinds of people rely on it."

    Nobody should have made decisions about how to live their lives based on the availability of public housing (and I don't imagine many did). It's no longer needed for what it was originally intended for. It's time for it to go.

  • ||

    When I was in law school, I spent time in a clinic program representing mostly D.C. public housing tenants. A few fun things I observed:

    1. The D.C. housing authority is a peculiar creature. They have this 'one strike' policy, but on the other hand they would let tenants go for literally over a decade without paying their rent (yes, they do have to pay rent) before bringing eviction actions. Must be an interesting budgetary process for them, assuming there is such a process.

    2. The housing units I saw were marginally habitable at best. Like everything else government-related in D.C., they were obviously constructed by some incompetent boob with political connections, probably to Marion Barry. And many tenants did their part by trashing the places, especially the common areas. Not always maliciously--some of those places had numerous kids running in and out, which obviously increases wear and tear. I felt really bad for some of the tenants, whom you could see getting out of that place eventually. Others were just hopeless.

    3. The quietest place I've ever experienced in D.C. was the Lincoln Heights projects at 9:00am.

  • ||

    joe | May 30, 2008, 2:17pm | #

    My solutin is to keep paying my taxes, make the public housing better, and support other housing programs that support people trying to secure it in the private market.

    Yours is to have people kicked out, and devil take the hindmost.

    So you'll excuse me if I don't consider Mount Montag to be the moral highground.



    Actually, I *do* mind if you insist that I subsidize screwups because it makes you feel better about yourself. We collect taxes in this nation at gunpoint, and you voted away my right to decline to participate in such disasters.

  • ||

    Guy Montag's comments read like a fetishist.

    "Come on, call me a..."

  • ||

    Yeah, and I mind if you're such an elitist snob that you declare all poor people to be screw-ups, and if you're so unfamiliar with empathy that your nearest personal experience is self-promotion.

    Please, whine about how paying taxes is exactly like being robbed at gunpoint again. That you're never had to learn the difference, and never being poor enough to need public housing, can top your list of things you give thanks for tonight.

  • ||

    Any of you humanitarians want to shell out to buy public housing and let people that poor live there? The government would love you to step up, they'd probably give 'em away for free.

    Umm, joe, you probably haven't been following local Hawaii news, where an investment group tried to buy a public housing project, and liberals went batshit crazy over the prospect of them fixing up the run-down housing and then raising the rents to reflect the cost of the renovations and the end of the taxpayer subsidies of the below-market rent.

    The state ended up shelling out beaucoup tax dollars to take over the property and ensure it continued to remain run down.

    Unless your point is that you want to know if any private sector firm wants to buy up public housing and continue renting it out at a loss, without any taxpayer subsidy, in which case no, no private sector business is all that interested in running a business at a loss in perpetuity. That's the kind of economic thinking only government engages in.

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    It's time for it to go.

    That's very easy thing to say. What are you talking about, exactly? Where does everybody go?

    As a matter of fact, it is a case of "lots of people depend on it."

  • Guy Montag||

    Gretz,

    Thanks, you beat me to it.

    joe, thank you too, the handlebar mustache is not even grown in and I am already the top Evil Defense Contractor Capitalist on your list.

    ChrisO,

    2. The housing units I saw were marginally habitable at best.

    From the lesson in Socialism we are getting on this thread, it must be because we are not taxed enough to make it right.

  • ||

    prolefeed,

    You don't say! Liberals, unhappy at the prospect of poor people being kicked out of their homes and not having anywhere to live?

    No way! Those silly liberals.

    And no, my point has nothing whatsoever to do with "without any taxpayer subsidy."

  • Guy Montag||

    Maybe of some people would get jobs they would not be whining all day on Libertatian 'blogs about how poorly they are being treated by the people who already pay for everything they use . . .

  • ||

    You're the only one whose pay comes from the taxpayers on this thread, M-I Complex Guy.

    I stopped working for the government years ago.

  • Guy Montag||

    Correction:
    From the lesson in Socialism we are getting on this thread, it must be because we are not taxed enough to make it right.

    From the lesson in Socialism we are getting on this thread, it must be because we

  • ||

    LOL!

    Please, keep posting, Captain Intertubes.

  • Guy Montag||

    From the lesson in Socialism we are getting on this thread, it must be because we do not care enough to be taxed enough to make it right.

    ugh, there

  • Guy Montag||

    Since when does my pay come from the government? I did not even take the $4 meal money when I was on orders for a flight physical for the Army Reserve.

  • Guy Montag||

    Please, keep posting, Captain Intertubes.

    Yea, joe, I make the biggest posting errors on Earch.

  • ||

    Since when does my pay come from the government?

    Since you took the job for the defense contractor, of course.

  • ||

    "Johnson is a good example of how in additional to being cruel, the "one strike" policy is counterproductive"

    No, Johnson is a good example of selfish kids who don't give a shit that their criminal actions could negatively impact grandma.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Joe,

    Ever walk through the 5th and 9th wards of New Orleans before Katrina? Federal housing is the WORST creation ever concieved by the government.

  • Guy Montag||

    joe,

    You really don't need to be calling anybody else names or engaging in any of your other ignorance. i know you don't know that, but I also know that I am not smart enough to explain it to you either.

    Neither is ANYBODY bright enough to explain to you that just because an ENUMERATED ACTIVITY of the government pays the firm that I work for to provide the services of me and my peers, MY check comes from a CORPORATION, not any government. Even when my salary exceeds what the firm employing me bills the government.

    I know, joe, this is hurting your brain, just like it hurts the brain of that politician who thinks that soldiers buying Penthouse magazine at the Exchange is an example of government money being used to subsidize porn.

    Yes, joe, I am well aware, as we all are, at how any market system not directed by the government is confusing to you. So confusing that you are convinced that you "win" threads simply by announcing this nonsense.

    Guy Montag,
    Proud contributor to AGW and the distruction of the entire universe through free markets.

  • Elma\'s boy||

    "Actually, most public housing was initially built as veterans' housing, because there was such an emergency shortage for demobilized military personnel after World War Two."

    That is true. I was born in 1957 to a family headed by a Marine. We lived in the Belleview projects in D.C. It was mostly milletary families.

  • Guy Montag||

    No, Johnson is a good example of selfish kids who don't give a shit that their criminal actions could negatively impact grandma.

    Perhaps a few years on the Don Imus ranch will straighten him out.

  • ||

    Joe, you can quit moving the goal posts now.

    joe | May 30, 2008, 1:38pm | #
    Any of you humanitarians want to shell out to buy public housing and let people that poor live there? The government would love you to step up, they'd probably give 'em away for free.


    joe | May 30, 2008, 2:39pm | #
    prolefeed,

    You don't say! Liberals, unhappy at the prospect of poor people being kicked out of their homes and not having anywhere to live?

    No way! Those silly liberals.

    And no, my point has nothing whatsoever to do with "without any taxpayer subsidy."


    If the government "gives it away" to new owners but insists on setting the rents and budgets either directly or with subsidy it isn't private enterprise it's the US Post Office. That sort of "privatization" isn't any better.

  • Geaux||

    "Where does everybody go?"

    FEMA Trailers. It worked for Katrina.

  • Guy Montag||

    Kwix,

    He has no concept of ownership, much less transfer of such.

  • ||

    That's very easy thing to say. What are you talking about, exactly? Where does everybody go?

    As a matter of fact, it is a case of "lots of people depend on it."


    Seriously, enough with the sentimentalism.
    They go to someplace where they can live for the amount of money that they have. OR they acquire more money or other assistance, directly or indirectly, through charities or family members or community organizations or through working more.
    You were twisting my words, unless you really mean to say that people plan their lives taking into account the possibility that one day they'll want to live in public housing.

  • Guy Montag||

    Reinmoose,

    You mean they won't fall out into the streets, starve, die, decay and cause an irreversable acceleration in global warming, causing all of the world to be submerged?

  • ||

    Naga Shadow,

    Oh, our government has conceived some pretty terrible things. It's tough to pick just one.

    But I agree, those massive urban renewal public housing projects were a man-made disaster. They were a response to a real problem, but they were a failed solution to that problem.

    Ever read about the HOPE VI program? It's about getting people out of places like that, and repairing the damage done by their construction.

  • ||

    Kwix,

    I haven't move the goalposts an inch. The fact that the people in those project will not have homes without a subsidy of some kind was my point from the beginning.

    That sort of "privatization" isn't any better. Better, at what? It's better at keeping people from being thrown out on the street. The horror of which as experienced by one woman is, if you recall, the subject of this thread.

  • ||

    Guy,

    You're a lot of fun to insult and spar with, but you don't actually have any arguments or thoughts worth my time. When you write something that long, I just skip it.

  • ||

    FEMA Trailers. It worked for Katrina.

    Federally-funded trailers?

    Reinmoose,

    "Sentimentalism?" Oh, ok. It's just a horrible slander when liberals accuse libertarians of not caring about people, except when it's true.

    If there were places for people that poor to live on the money available to them that weren't public housing, they'd be there.

  • ||

    What I've learned today:

    It is cruel to thow an old woman out of her apartment because he grandson had some weed.

    It is an elevated act of englightened moralityh to throw that woman, and a couple hundred thousand other people, out of their apartments in order to save the cost of the subsidy.

  • Guy Montag||

    LOL, joe, you can't fool us, you never learn anything!

  • ||

    I'll refrain from bashing social welfare ptograms today, I'm just going after the leeches who administer them.

    Government largess is not about compassion. Government programs are about power. They were given the power to evict this woman over bullshit and like bureaucrats everywhere, they abused that power. Sinecured petty bureaucrats behave like this almost invariably. It validates their inflated sense of self-importance.

    Go to the DMV sometimes and imagine the person behind the counter as your landlord with no legal proscriptions about how they manage the property or treat their tenants. Add in zero incentive, financial or otherwise, for doing the job well and you have public housing projects.

    One last point,
    Zero tolerance only facilitates zero reasoning.

  • ||

    "Sentimentalism?" Oh, ok. It's just a horrible slander when liberals accuse libertarians of not caring about people, except when it's true.

    If there were places for people that poor to live on the money available to them that weren't public housing, they'd be there.


    I can't be held responsible for your lack of ability to think dynamically.

    Oh SNAP!

    I WIN!

    I WIN THE THREAD!!!

    YOU CAN ONLY RESORT TO PERSONAL ATTACKS!

  • ||

    joe,

    If you subsidize something, you get more of it. Just think about that in relation to public housing and other welfare programs. What are we subsidizing with these programs?

  • ||

    And by "sentimentalism," maybe I was referring to the definition of the word, which is
    "an excessively sentimental conception or statement," as in, enough with the "excessively sentimental statements."

    Yeah, I'm fucking immoral because of that shit.

  • ||

    J sub D,

    I'm cool with getting more housing by subsidizing it. That's sort of the point.

    I'm not interested in having the total sum of money spent on housing being as efficient as possible, at the expense of some people dropping out of the bottom. I'm more concerned with people having homes.

    If that means that there is a net surplus of units compared to what would exist without the subsidy, because there are people who have places to live who otherwise would not, I'm cool with that. That's actually the point of housing-subsidy programs.

  • ||

    "FEMA Trailers. It worked for Katrina.

    Federally-funded trailers?"

    Yes, it's a much smaller investment than public housing and trailers motivate folks to actively improve their lives.

    There is nothing wrong withh the Feds providing a safety net. But, generational poverty via public housing and the government dole? No way.

  • Geaux||

    "If there were places for people that poor to live on the money available to them that weren't public housing, they'd be there."

    On average, it costs about $12/day to camp in a Louisiana State Park. Pretty cheap. One can easily panhandle that.

  • ||

    Geaux,

    If the people poor enough to qualify for public housing were, instead, renting camp sites, the camp sites would be a hell of a lot more expensive.

    You're ignoring the supply-and-demand aspect here.

  • Geaux||

    "You're ignoring the supply-and-demand aspect here."

    No, the state determines the price, not the market.

  • ||

    Brenda,

    There is nothing wrong withh the Feds providing a safety net. But, generational poverty via public housing and the government dole? No way. I hear you, but I'd argue that the generational poverty isn't the consequence of there being cheap housing available to the people who need it, so much as there being a lack of economic opportunity in the area where there are enough poor people to motivate the public to provide public housing. A situation which was, sadly, made worse by the foolish urban renewal programs that built the housing.

  • ||

    Geaux,

    No, the state determines the price, not the market.

    Regardless, the numbers we're talking about would make it impossible for the state to provide those sites for that price.

    Besides, where would people work? Stacking the poor in cheap places where there aren't any jobs has been tried, and as it turns out, it isn't such a panacea.

  • ||

    From the lesson in Socialism we are getting on this thread, it must be because we are not taxed enough to make it right.

    That's the beautiful thing about the D.C. government. No matter how much taxpayer money is spent, the end result is always *exactly the same*. Well, except for the politically connected contractor, of course, and the pol getting the kickback.

  • Neil||

    I'm more concerned with people having homes.

    Start a charity.

  • ||

    I'm not interested in having the total sum of money spent on housing being as efficient as possible, at the expense of some people dropping out of the bottom. I'm more concerned with people having homes.



    Awesome! Why don't you and all other like-minded individuals band together and pay for it yourself?

  • ||

    Any of you humanitarians want to shell out to buy public housing and let people that poor live there? The government would love you to step up, they'd probably give 'em away for free.

    Now I know joe is completely full of shit. I would like to see joe try to make a trailer park in a state with a growth management act.

  • Neil||

    I hear you, but I'd argue that the generational poverty isn't the consequence of there being cheap housing available to the people who need it, so much as there being a lack of economic opportunity in the area where there are enough poor people to motivate the public to provide public housing.

    If you can't find a job, move. What is so hard about that.

  • Guy Montag||

    That's the beautiful thing about the D.C. government. No matter how much taxpayer money is spent, the end result is always *exactly the same*. Well, except for the politically connected contractor, of course, and the pol getting the kickback.

    Then it is because we don't care enough, like I ammended that statement to (after some bad HTML tagging attempts)

  • Guy Montag||

    joshua corning,

    Perhaps we are not wearing the correct ribbons and wristbands, to show how much we care.

  • ||

    If you subsidize something, you get more of it. Just think about that in relation to public housing and other welfare programs. What are we subsidizing with these programs?

    As a libertarian and a land developer this statement is seriously fucking with me.

    Ok i give up i will take free money from the state to make more lots to build more houses on.

    Wow i can now see why subsidized farmers are the way they are.

  • ||

    I hear you, but I'd argue that the generational poverty isn't the consequence of there being cheap housing available to the people who need it, so much as there being a lack of economic opportunity in the area where there are enough poor people to motivate the public to provide public housing. A situation which was, sadly, made worse by the foolish urban renewal programs that built the housing.

    My experience with folks in public housing was that the majority had jobs but had foregone getting a decent education, for a variety of reasons. The DC area has plenty of opportunity, but not for the uneducated. A more "libertarian" approach is to provide them the means to do better for themselves, which sometimes requires both carrot and stick approaches.

    However, I also saw a hardcore group of people who were, to put it mildly, unemployable under any circumstances. Those are folks who provide the most difficult consideration for me as a libertarian. All you can really do is warehouse them.

  • Guy Montag||

    All you can really do is warehouse them.

    How about doing that in Georgetown so they will be even farther away from Crystal City?

  • ||

    Start a charity.

    Awesome! Why don't you and all other like-minded individuals band together and pay for it yourself? You mean, like, when I served on the board of the Habitat for Humanity local for a few years?

    Yeah, that was awesome, but in terms of scale, there is just no way it's going to have the impact necessary to take up the slack of eliminating public housing.

  • ||

    BTW, since the difference between my politics and yours is ONLY about relative levels of government involvement, and has nothing to do with having different levels of concern about the poor...

    and since you all are are much, much more committed to those private-sector solutions...

    than, obviously, you all probably have given even MORE of your time and effort to Habitat or some similar group than me.





    Unless my premises are wrong.

  • ||

    Good comment, Chris O.

    I'll tell you, it isn't just libertarian ideology that gets its sharper corners rounded off by exposure to the real world of public housing. Doctrinaire liberalism take a beating there, too.

  • ||

    joe,

    I'm not really in ther mood to argue social programs today. I accept that your heart is in the right place, I just think most social welfare programs do more harm than good. I can't ptove that just as you can't prove they do more good than harm.

    But if were going to have them, can't we get someone who is not an idiot running them?

    Jesus Fucking Christ, an urban teenage boy was gambling and had weed under his mattress. That was me 35 years ago, and I was "a good kid" raised in the lily white 'burbs. WTF?

  • ||

    joe | May 30, 2008, 3:27pm | #
    If there were places for people that poor to live on the money available to them that weren't public housing, they'd be there.


    In many cities there are places for the poor to live but people who "qualify" for public housing shouldn't have to suffer the indignity of living with a large, extended household like quite a few "illegal" immigrants who don't "qualify" for housing do.

    Being poor sucks Joe, I have been there. At one time, not too long ago, I lived in a house with four other people, all working roughly minimum wage jobs. Any one of us would have technically qualified for "public housing" but there wasn't enough "public housing" to go around (four year wait list) so instead we pooled our money and rented a 900sqft house. It was tight, it was sheer, cramped chaos but had no other choice and we made do.

    I ended up buying that very same house four years later, still living with roommates and still making less than what you would likely consider a "living wage".

    I did my part to house people who otherwise had no other place to live. Until I sold that house I had roommates when I would much rather have lived on my own. I suggest you do the same before telling me how I should let the government spend my money for me.

  • ||

    I will add that the house across the street from us, with an almost identical floorplan, was inhabited by 7 individuals of the "hispanic" persuasion. I know for sure there were two Mexicans and at least one Honduran. I thought we were cramped but they must have had a hell of a time. Still, none of them were living in a box on the street.

  • ||

    Yeah, that was awesome, but in terms of scale, there is just no way it's going to have the impact necessary to take up the slack of eliminating public housing.



    All those likeminded people can pay what they otherwise would have paid in taxes to support such a program. Right now, they're already taxed for it, so they have no reason to donate to charity.

  • ||

    Unless of course they only care about forcing others to pay for it.

  • Neil||

    During the industrial revolution, people left their rural lives to take factory jobs in the big cities.

    The world changed, and the facotories closed up leaving the people with no jobs.

    Rather than facilitate an orderly exodus from the cities, we give people cheap, crappy homes where there is no hope for a decent job.

    Makes sense to me.

  • Rhywun||

    Jane Jacobs nailed this almost 50 years ago. She knew that you couldn't "build" affordable housing--the only way to make housing affordable is to let regular housing fester for awhile until it becomes affordable. She also knew that only trouble could come from ghetto-izing it (like the projects). Therefore, the best option is to somehow delay whole-scale "gentrification" (she didn't call it that; but that's what it is) so that the maximum number of people are paying market rents and living and working in a normally functioning economy. She laid out one idea of how to make that happen but I don't recall the specifics at the moment. But it's easy to see how either charity or government could be effective there.

  • ||

    Unless of course they only care about forcing others to pay for it.

    Bingo!

  • ||

    Jesus Fucking Christ, an urban teenage boy was gambling and had weed under his mattress. That was me 35 years ago, and I was "a good kid" raised in the lily white 'burbs. WTF?

    Yeah, I don't see a lot of comment here about the main topic, probably because we all think it was a dumb thing for the government to do.

    The policy in question was enacted in response to a real problem, and was an overreaction in typical fashion.

    There were some high-profile instances where Grandma Tenant allowed her darling gangbanger grandchildren to deal drugs out of the apartment--which obviously shouldn't be the government's business, except that it contributed to gang violence in the projects. And because Grandma wasn't the one doing the nasty business, there was little the housing authority could do to fix the problem.

    The best way to get rid of the gang problem at issue would be to legalize drugs, but why do that when you can throw Grandma out of the apartment?

  • ||

    But it's easy to see how either charity or government could be effective there.

    Deregulate land use and this will happen.

    Pasco Washington is a fast growing town with homes priced at $160,000 new and has a low unemployment and comparable wages...the difference between Pasco and the rest of Washington is that Pasco has 4000 acres of land within its urban growth area.

    I think the big disconnect here is the general misunderstanding that housing is not a heavily regulated industry...Dividing lots, building houses and selling them have literally thousands of state mandated built in inefficacies that all lead to lowering supply and raising prices.

    If Pasco can have a prices 100,000$ less then any comparable in the state simply by allotting more land that can leagally be subdivided into urban densities think how much lower it could be if more regulations were trimmed.

  • ||

    shoudl be:

    the difference between Pasco and the rest of Washington is that Pasco has 4000 acres of undeveloped land within its urban growth area.

    from the look of it pasco has about 7-10,000 acres in its uga and that includes an airport which takes up about 1000 acres

  • Neil||

    There is no problem with a lack of affordable housing. There is only a problem with squatters occupying land that would be put to more effective use by a free market.

    The poor should be dispersed to areas where land and housing are cheaper.

  • ||

    Kwix,

    Being a poor, single, healthy young man, in a position to rough it, is quite a bit different from the circumstances of most public housing tenants.

  • ||

    I second joshua corning's statement about deregulating land use. The effect of snob zoning is to artificially lower the supply while driving up the cost per unit, and the effect of the regulatory burden is to drive up the cost per unit while slowing down the process.

    You certainly don't have to believe in anarcho-capitalism to recognize that.

    But while that could go a long way towards taking some of the pressue off, we'd still be left with that segment of the population that are too poor to secure housing for their families without help.

    What do y'all think of Section 8 vouchers? Besides the fact that TAXATION = THEFT!!, I mean.

  • Rhywun||

    What do y'all think of Section 8 vouchers?

    Better than public housing, but still results in ghetto-ization because landlords who accept it tend to cluster in the worst neighborhoods.

    If we *have* to promise some sort of "minimum" housing to a subset of people who can't otherwise afford to live in their preferred town/neighborhood, I'd just as soon give 'em cash and let 'em spend it how they wish.

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