[We are seeing a nightmare in New Orleans which is most likely being emulated elsewhere where communities are destroying rather than building public housing that is affordable.



Fury in New Orleans as housing demolition OKd

Protesters, police clash outside a City Council meeting where a plan to
raze public housing is unanimously approved.
By Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 21, 2007


We learned in the 1950s that private developers cannot fund affordable housing.  Robert A. Taft, Republican Senate majority leader and competitor with Eisenhower for the presidency, learned this lesson when his family tried to build affordable housing and severely dented the family fortune.  He became one of the principal supporters of public housing which flourished until the Reagan era.

We saw the difference in the quality of people’s lives lived in public housing when we did so as grad students from 1960=63 under a special program designed to bring some desegregation to Grant Houses located on West 125th St. in Harlem.  Previously I had worked with kids in Manhattanville nearby and seen how miserable their lives were in the broken down tenements subsequently replaced by public housing.  Those living with us in the project were safe, could study for school, and had enough income to eat as well as live in secure housing — rents were set on a percentage of family income.

It is shocking, then to see New Orleans destroying the public housing there to replace it with ‘mixed’ — read profit-making — housing.  We are seeing similar development drives here in NYC.  Columbia University which should be devoted to community service is taking over a chunk of lower West Harlem which will result in the same sort of gentrification there that has afflicted its main base in Morningside Heights where one must now be a multi-millionaire to buy in.  They say that there is a big market here in Manhattan for foreigners looking to invest in condominiums:


New York Condos Lure Deal-Seeking Europeans
Foreign tourists are keeping brokers busy with their
eagerness to buy Manhattan apartments.



How many homeless do we have today?  Ed Kent]

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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