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Thread: Public Housing in NYC

  1. #1

    Default Public Housing in NYC

    Not that this is breaking news, but being out and about the city I've been frustrated by what I've seen with the NYC public housing projects and I thought I would make a few comments to maybe get a discussion going on this topic. First of all, as I am sure most people would agree, it is a failed system for the people who live in these projects. As Jane Jacobs pointed out, the projects create vast waste lands without any of the services or activities that makes the city streetscape vibrant. The solution of creating vast green spaces to cure the ills of the slums certainly has not been effective. Also, in my opinion public housing creates a disincentive to work. I was just looking at the NYC Public Housing Agencies website and it indicates that the average rent for people in traditional public housing arrangements is $336 per month! Now I understand the need for providing people in need with affordable places to live, but there should be some type of middle road. Average income in the projects according to NYCPHA is $20,000 this means that a person's total annual expenditure on rent would be less than 15% of their income, much less than what the majority of NYers pay. Most people in this city are struggling with the cost of rent and they have to make choices and work to increase their incomes, but public housing does not require a person to do either.

    Once again, I don't think the system is fair to the people who live in less than desirable conditions and who loose the incentive to work and advance themselves and it is also not fair to the millions of middle class new yorkers who work extremely hard to make ends meet and do it without handouts.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the current system and ways to improve it going forward.

  2. #2
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're saying that rents in Public Housing should be increased by 200 - 300 % so that the folks who live there will be inclined to get better paying jobs and thereby pay rents in line with other NYers ...

    The thought that someone in lower income brackets should pay same % of income towards housing as those in higher brackets seems nonsensical. Those in higher brackets have more cash for all sorts of uses, whereas lower income earners have less if any cash for many of the basics.

    Maybe we should consider just shipping all the residents of Public Housing off to lower rent areas. What about West Virginia or South Dakota or Buffalo (the last option would keep those low earners within the state and thereby might get the move around all sorts of legal issues)? Then we can tear down those blocks and re-develop all the sites as luxury housing where rents start at $3500 / month for a 500 sf studio and go up from there (although we should be open to starting the lowest rents at a higher level to ensure that we get real hard working folks who earn lots of cash).

  3. #3
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Go easy on him loft.

    I agree that the % thing does not work. 20% of 20K is a lot less $$ than 20% of 60K. You can't buy enough FOOD to live on if youstart doing similar % for rent.

    I do, however, believe that there should be some sort of feeling of contribution from the residents. This should not feel like a "Free ride" to them (or a cheap one) where everything is due/owed to them. I see the lack of respect that many (although certainly not a majority) of teh residents/ children have for what they have, and their destructive behavior.

    How can you do something liek Habitat for Humanity that gets people involved with the construction, care and/or upkeep of their own places? Would turning these places into some form of co-op be a better way of doing it? A limited ownership taht would entitle them, after a time, to be able to sell i to someone who qualifies (albeit at a small price, there would have to be some way to arrange it so that the new ones coming in would pay a mortgage that would not be much more than rent).

    How can we give these people a feeling that this is THEIR neighborhood and THEIR house so they have a bit more respect for it?

  4. #4
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    For the most part people in the projects do get a free ride, as most of them are on public assistance as well and welfare pays there rent so there is no reason to raise the rent as it would just cost more money being taken from the welfare system.

    The NYC housing projects probally were the single most stupid idea the city ever had.

  5. #5

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    Kill kill kill kill kill the poor.

  6. #6

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    Their free and easy lifestyle is a constant irritant to me. I can hardly concentrate.

    Yes, I agree. They should all be killed.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kliq6 View Post
    For the most part people in the projects do get a free ride, as most of them are on public assistance as well
    15.8% of NYC public housing residents receive public assistance.

  8. #8
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau View Post
    Kill kill kill kill kill the poor.
    It would cost too much money.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau View Post
    Kill kill kill kill kill the poor.
    I never said that and to imply that I ment to say that is incredibly irresponsible.

    I was just making a point that in the end of the day the Housing System in NYC has been a failure and I would also counter most of the residents in them would agree.

  10. #10

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    Loftier, I said several times in my post that I understand the need for public housing and I don't think I took the approach that we should ship poor people off to another place in the country. All I was trying to do was to have an honest discussion about a broken system. I don't think that you would disagree that it can be improved, right? That's all my intent is.

    But since you raised it, I do think that we would be better off to knock down these symbols of a failed system like so many other cities have done and create a system that works better. Anyone know if other cities like Chicago have been successful since breaking up their projects?

    Also, does anyone know if there is any limit on the amount of time that someone can stay in public housing? I think there should be or at the very least have an increasing contribution of rent that a person pays after staying in the system for a certain number of years. It seems to me that there should be some type of incentive to encourage upward mobility otherwise generation after generation will be stuck in public housing.

    Another idea, does the city provide any type of financial education to people living in the projects so that they can improve their financial status? Because I think it is interesting to see how people choose to spend their money. My family was not well off when they first came to New York, but they made choices as how to make best use of limited resources and save for the future. In contrast, walking around the neighborhood surrounding the Amsterdam Houses last weekend for example, I saw everyone with a cell phone (adults and teenagers), parking lots full of cars (this is always mindblowing to me how the majority of Nyers don't have cars, but people in public housing are provided with parking by the city and have cars), and I know this is the exception to the rule but I saw a 40" Sony Bravia being delivered as well! I know these are all individual examples and that the majority of people are in need who live at these places so don't jump down my throat, but my point is that when people are not forced to make hard decisions and have a considerable expense lifted from their shoulders they probably do not make the best choices as how to spend their income and never get ahead in life. So I think another great thing would be to make sure in some form that education and oversight are provided.

  11. #11

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    My joke wasn't directed specifically at you, Kliq6. I understand that you don't actually want to murder impoverished people, but the way you're talking suggests that you'd like to see them publicly shamed and officially denounced.

    And no, welfare does not "pay there rent."

  12. #12

    Default Nycdoc:

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCDOC View Post
    . . . As Jane Jacobs pointed out, the projects create vast waste lands without any of the services or activities that makes the city streetscape vibrant. ...
    Jane Jacobs wrote so much, please post which publication you're citing.

  13. #13

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    I was referencing Jacob's arguement in "The Death and Life of Great American Cities."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau View Post
    My joke wasn't directed specifically at you, Kliq6. I understand that you don't actually want to murder impoverished people, but the way you're talking suggests that you'd like to see them publicly shamed and officially denounced.

    And no, welfare does not "pay there rent."
    No problem, just wanted to make that point known. However for some of them welfare does pay the rent, but who really cares in the end of the day. The overall problem is the system is a mess and needs fixing.

  15. #15
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    NYCD... I think the way our current system works, you are rewarded if you spend all you have.

    You get any savings, any vestment, that is seen as capital and may make you unavailable for any additional help.

    So why is it that we "reward" the people that are able to get out of debt and save some money by kicking them out? You would think that there would be some way to try to make it so that the transition was not a crock-filled moat (and no, I do not mean small jars of butter...).

    But there isn't. We have a crap pile with no real way to get out without a GOOD head of steam built up first, and most would rather have a car and a plasma TV than a job/career and life that would NOT let them have this kind of thing, but make them work harder for what they have.

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