Skip to comments.No job, no housing subsidy under plan (Charlotte, NC)
Posted on 12/29/2008 10:13:35 AM PST by Between the Lines
The Charlotte Housing Authority is considering giving thousands of public housing residents a choice: Get a job or get out.
Agency leaders are proposing a plan that would force tenants to find work to keep their government housing benefits.
The idea has prompted criticism from some advocates for the poor who say it would be wrong to impose the rule during the country's worst economic crisis in decades.
But backers say it's only right to make able-bodied adults work and try to gain self sufficiency.
“There's never a perfect time to start a change,” said Jennifer Gallman, a spokeswoman for the Housing Authority. “This is a positive change.”
Under federal guidelines, recipients generally put 30percent of their household income toward rent. The federal government subsidizes the remainder.
The proposal would require the head of each household to work at least 30 hours a week by April 1, 2011, to keep the subsidy. Elderly and disabled residents would be exempt.
The Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners will decide next month whether to implement the rule.
It would impact many of the 15,000 people in Charlotte who live in public housing apartments or rent homes from private landlords using government-issued Section 8 vouchers.
A recent survey conducted for the Housing Authority found that the head of the household was employed in 31percent of public housing units. The head of the household was working in 43percent of homes rented with Section 8 vouchers.
The employment rule is one of several restrictions the Housing Authority has implemented or weighed in recent years. Residents who move into some newer, recently built developments must now meet work requirements designed to move them out of public housing in five years.
But the latest idea surfaces just as the unemployment rate in North Carolina has reached 7.9percent, the highest figure in 25 years.
Alfred Riley, who lives in the Boulevard Homes public housing complex in west Charlotte, said he has tried hard “for a long time” but can't find work.
The proposed rule “comes at the worst time ever,” Riley said. “People can't even find work at a fast-food restaurant.”
Advocates for the poor fear the rule could add to Charlotte's growing homeless population.
Many public housing tenants cannot afford daycare for their children and don't have needed transportation or job skills, said Ted Fillette, lead attorney with Charlotte's Legal Aid office.
Some 30,000 people in North Carolina are on waiting lists for affordable daycare, Fillette said. Affordable daycare typically costs about $175 a week, he said.
The Housing Authority has not promised to help pay to remove such barriers, Fillette said.
Revoking subsidies is “tantamount to evicting families who have the least capacity to survive in the non-subsidized market,” he wrote in a letter to other local advocates for the poor.
Gallman, the Housing Authority spokeswoman, noted that tenants would have two years to find work.
Those who do not meet the requirement would receive up to two counseling sessions and a 90-day grace period. When the period ends, the agency would reduce an unemployed tenant's housing subsidy by 50percent. After that, officials would take away an unemployed tenant's entire subsidy.
Gallman said the Housing Authority has studied how the rule worked in cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore and Chicago and found that it did not lead to increased homelessness, Gallman said.
Charlotte officials, she said, may create programs or partner with other agencies to help tenants with daycare, transportation, job training or other obstacles.
“They won't just throw people out,” Gallman said.
If anyone is looking for Common Sense, it is in Charlotte, NC.
This should have been a condition from the outset.
I would truly like to find the mandate for public housing in any State Constitution.
There are a lot of people who work the system by claiming to be disabled - it's not a hard label to get. Then, they get SSDI/Medical/etc. forever. So in a few years, we'll probably see an increase in the ratio of disabled people who get the subsidy.
Many public housing tenants cannot afford daycare for their children and don't have needed transportation or job skills, said Ted Fillette, lead attorney with Charlotte's Legal Aid office.
So what? They just get everything for free forever? I'm just not feeling particularly charitable these days...
...When I lived in Charlotte in the late 80s the Earle Village Projects were a mess....the 1990 census couldn’t tell how many people were “staying”* there....so they sent census takers to go door to door and do a physical count...a census taker knocks on the front door, and some black guy runs out the back door....drugs, shootings, illigitimate children, stolen cars, gambling, parole violators, community organizers all contained in public housing just a couple of blocks from down town.
*Q: “Say Jamal, where you stay at?”
A: “Oh I stays down aroun’ Earle Village”
Yeah, throw people and their kids who can’t get jobs into the street in the worst economic times I ever remember. Wow, great people in Charlotte.
There’s never a perfect time to start a change, said Jennifer Gallman, a spokeswoman for the Housing Authority. This is a positive change.
Change we can believe in.
Yep. You're a Democrat.
“Yeah, throw people and their kids who cant get jobs into the street in the worst economic times I ever remember. Wow, great people in Charlotte.”
I understand what you’re saying but what about the overburdened taxpayer that’s paying out 50% of his income in various taxes? There are some people who deserve our help but there are millions in this country that are swindlers.
I used to volunteer at a homeless shelter for families and you would not believe the number of lazy, ignorant, violent and hostile people out there who have no sense of responsibility and breed like flies. They are vermin who are raising another generation of vermin.
I've had several people who were developmentally disabled tell me they would rather work than get a check because they could make more money.
So we should let poor people starve or freeze to death? Should we have a death cart that goes around and picks up the dead in the morning like India used to? with your attitude towards the poor, I have no idea why you volunteer anywhere. I have worked with the poor and found them to be good and bad. Also, in this economy, the people turned out in the street could be you and your family. As a civilized nation, we have a responsibility to the poor.
I would hope that some Republicans -like myself-still do not want to see women and children thrown into the streets to starve-not my kind of conservatism.
Oh knock it the hell off! Your bleeding heart is making a mess all over this thread.
It’s about damned time!
“So we should let poor people starve or freeze to death? Should we have a death cart that goes around and picks up the dead in the morning like India used to? with your attitude towards the poor, I have no idea why you volunteer anywhere.”
Nice personal attack. I was raised poor and no one gave us anything. Of course that was before the rise of the coercive nanny state. I’ve given thousands in charity and even helped build houses for those who were less fortunate but I’m tired of forced charity.
And no, I don’t want anyone to starve or freeze to death. I have yet to see a starving person in this country.
You’re rhetoric suggests that you are pretty much a liberal who doesn’t believe in personal responsibility but instead in the welfare state.
Earle Village is now gone, razed to the ground. The area is now called the Garden District and is one of the more desirable areas to live. There is still low income housing in the Garden District, but it is blended in what they call multi-income homes and not concentrated in one area.
Here is a link to website that shows what most of the Garden District looks like today.
At what point do you feel bad for the taxpayer who is burdened with these people, his own future retirement, his own property taxes, his own local taxes etc etc?????
Because one does not want to be burdened with taxes paying for the welfare of everyone else is NOT tantamount to heartlessness as you imply.
In case you couldn’t tell, the average worker is having a hard time getting by, let alone saving money. So why should they be forced to pay taxes for others to live without working?
Do you have any logic to back up your feel good concerns?
Re: The proposal would require the head of each household to work at least 30 hours a week by April 1, 2011, to keep the subsidy. Elderly and disabled residents would be exempt.
You call this “throwing people into the streets to starve”????? If you do, you need new reading glasses.
C'mon, now. Your assertion is a burlesque of what dlj wrote.
Of course, as a civilization, we have responsibility to (not for) the poor. Your words.
We have a responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves.
We have a responsibility to provide opportunity for those who can help themselves.
And we have a responsibility not to enable those who would prefer to be helped by others, rather than do anything to help themselves.
You might call this social triage.
To date, we have spent over $5 trillion dollars over four decades on "the poor". These expenditures have failed to move the dial on the percent of Americans "living in poverty". It remains around 14% today -- essentially unchanged since 1965. Indeed, unchanged since de Tocqueville observed the same percentage (1 in 7) in colonial America.
The only times that have seen a decline in the percentage of Americans in poverty since 1965 were a.) after the Reagan tax cuts and b.) after the Bush tax cuts.
That should tell us something.
No conservative would object to government (or charitable) assistance to two legs of the social triage. But we should all object to those who form the third leg: they are poor, because they wish to be. They neither deserve, nor appreciate, our help. Indeed, we (nor government programs) aren't helping them at all, only enabling them.
Charity needn't -- indeed, shouldn't be -- indiscriminate.
Another requirement for Federal Housing should be regular drug testing. Most jobs require this as a condition of employment, and anyone receiving taxpayers money should meet the same requirements.
Yes-unemployment is rising. Jobs are hard to come by. I wonder how many job skills these people have? Also, what about medical. Many who could work don’t because they don’t want to lose medical.
Sorry- I completely disagree. I would not wish to live in the sort of world you describe.
I cannot find anyone today who would want a warm home and assistance, and the liability and employment laws would prohibit this sort of arrangement. Sad becasue it gives meaning to people's lives to be included instead of sitting in group home or in section 8 housing.
I don’t believe in absolutes. I believe cases need to be judge on a case by case basis.
There is much this story does not explain.
The Charlotte Housing Authority redefined its role back in the 90's from strictly housing the poor to transitioning the poor into the community and out of public housing. CHA seeks to be temporary housing for those in need instead of a warehouse for those who no one wants. CHA offers many more services than just housing such as job training, scholarships, job search, day care, and list goes on.
CHA has been very aggressive in the HOPE VI Program. Everyone entering under the Hope VI program (about a third of all clients) already are under these new rules. Hope VI is nationwide and the same rules exist everywhere. The difference is that Charlotte is the first city to extend these rules to include all clients.
CHA has been very successful with Hope VI with about 80% transitioning out of public housing after 5 years. 30% of those have transitioned into home ownership!
...As a civilized nation, we have a responsibility to the poor.
CHA wants to give people a hand up, not a hand out. You tell me which is the more responsible thing to do.
No offense...you family did a nice thing and all, but we used to call that slavery I think.
Please describe the sort of world in which you would wish to live.
Phooey-it wants to cut costs and doesn’t care about the damage it causes families. It’s probably a ploy to get people of the whatever state medical plan is available. People advocate stuff like this and then wonder why we are headed for socialism. I don’t want to pay more taxes either, but this will not work.
There is not a conservative bone in your body. I don’t know who you’re trying to fool. Why don’t you invite all these homeless people to live with you in your house?
No. Not slavery. People who are taken care of and paid for the level of work they perform are not slaves.
When I have my earnings taken in taxes to pay for the livelihood of people who suck off the state ...now THAT is slavery.
It depends on the situation. Right now we are in an economic downturn. Not a good time. Also, some people I have worked with will never hold down jobs...they have kids. Should we throw them out into the streets and let them starve because no matter how you try to pretty it up, this is what this really means. Sorry, I don’t agree. The feds may step in also.
I would like to solve the problem of poverty and pay less taxes also, but it won’t happen. The poor will always be with you-As a Christian, I am supposed to help, and I do as much as I can. Sorry, we need a safety net. You don’t get it. The country is in real trouble. Many of the charities that helped the poor aren’t getting enough donations, there is real want in this country. All sorts of people are showing up at food banks and requesting food stamps and help. Charlotte has a very poor sense of timing. Let’s not make it worse.
I do not consider letting people starve to be conservative. I want to help people succeed. I am all for helping people get off public assistance. However, you are confusing social Darwinism with conservatism. I don’t believe in absolute dates. It should be based on the circumstances not some arbitrary deadline. I work with the poor through my church...what do you know about it exactly?
I would like to have a system that gives basic necessities-food, clothing, and shelter to people who can not support themselves- a safety net. I would like to see those who can work helped into work Already, I see people with kids seriously going hungry in this downturn. My daughter has bought lunch for a number of her friends at school. I do not wish to see people who are completely destitute with no where to turn-living and perhaps dying on the streets while we avert our eyes.
Although the poor will always be with us there is no biblical injunction that says “Do not work.” As a matter of fact, the bible clearly states that one must work to eat. In this consequence-absent culture we have cobbled together with high minimum wages, horribly exploitive (of business) employment laws and liablility sharks, a culture that is entitled.
Read the last two chapters of Murry and Hernstein’s The Bell Curve to discover what a bad and what a good outcome look like.
Not understanding your point...however, I don’t consider Charlotte’s plan to be any sort of ‘love’-tough or otherwise.
Of course you don't. You could not have possibly have read the article I linked and posted two replies to this thread in 95 seconds.
If you had read it, I am sure you would have pointed out all of the negatives at the end of the article.
So did my Mom. She worked and raised us all, alone. She held down jobs, many to be exact. Yea, we were poor but happy.
If they can't pass a drug test they should be kicked to the curb, tonight. If they can work but won't, they should be kicked to the curb, tonight.
...and hope for freezing rain!
To depict what Chickensoup's folks did for others as slavery is twisted to say the least. They took in folks that couldn't make it on their own, gave them responsibilities and a sense of belonging, a sense of family. Paid them accordingly with room, board and what monies they could spare. That is compassion by any definition.
You folks that think it's ok to take my earnings from me and give it to those that believe they are owed a free ride wouldn't know conservatism if it hit them in the A**!
The bible also clearly calls Christians to care for the poor and likens a rich man’s chance of getting into heaven as likely as getting though the head of a needle. Christ served others and called upon us to do the same. I think public housing should be used to house people who don’t make that much money-working or not. Affordable housing is a tough issue for the poor.
Thank you. I think do-able work and a sense of belonging means the world to people. Without it a boardroom is a prison and free state owned stuff kills.
Do you know why? How about lending monies to folks that had no chance or even intent of paying it back, kinda like this housing mess in Charlotte (as well as the rest of this nation), eh?
Forced 'charity' undid this economy and I defy you to show otherwise.
That would be never. He/she is the same person who wants a bailout for the auto industry. He/she claims to be in management at one of them but certainly seems to have a lot of time on his/her hands to post on this forum.
A world where the grifters and the indolent wouldn't be rewarded indiscriminantly?
You realize, of course, that such largesse necessarily requires that the genuinely needy get less than they might otherwise. That is of no concern to you?
Forgive me, but I'm beginning to suspect that you may not be a conservative. Even a little conservative.
You seem prone to making unsupported assertions and approve of policies that take money away from people who earned it and give indiscriminantly to people who won't.
Even my sis, the social worker, observes that around two-thirds of her clients have taken willful actions which have put them in the situation they're in -- bad boyfriends, drugs, illegitimate children, bad work habits, etc. Even she believes that rewarding them with welfare programs is only creating more of the same -- and reducing the assistance to those who really need it.
Bless her, she's a bleeding heart liberal. But she knows her clients...and apparently has a better grasp of reality than you seem to have.
I think slavery was when people were chained and beaten not given free reign of the household and could leave any time they pleased.
I know some of these people are scum who doesn’t so what about their kids...just write them off too?
what about their kids...just write them off too?
Change the laws and take the kids away. Raise them to be productive citizens in foster homes and orphanages. When I was young there was training school. Taught you a trade and good work habits.
I don't know who you think you are fooling but most people around here can smell BS a mile away and you are full of it. Name one charity that is getting less donations this year than last, name just one (besides the ones that were swindled by the crook Madoff).
You are just making it up as you go. Most charities would say they aren't getting enough donations any time you asked them. I imagine most people working would say they aren't making a big enough salary either.
If there aren't any jobs to be found why are so many illegals running across the border to live here? They seem to be able to find work without any trouble.