This needs to happen. Crime is ruining the city
This needs to happen. Crime is ruining the city
I am noting a disturbing trend among liberal well meaning people regarding criminal background checks in housing. Landlords including the federal government have for years screened for previous criminal activity on the part of a potential tenant. These screenings have been mandated by HUD and have been held up in court as a reliable indicator of potential problems.
Now various government entities are passing laws making such checks illegal. This is misguided and will result in more damage to properties, more evictions, and higher rents for good tenants. I agree that criminal activity of a non violent nature committed years before should be excepted. I also believe that an ex offender who is participating in programs offered by organizations such as the Criminal Justice Ministry should also be approved. Written by Paul Dribin
I have attended various task forces of the Vacancy Collaborative in St. Louis. What I find fascinating is that no one in the group has defined why there are a large amount of vacancies in St. Louis. The answer is really quite simple; crime, crime, crime. There are several facts which back my assertion:
1. The parts of St. Louis that have a reasonable crime rate do not have significant vacancies and tax foreclosed properties sell quickly
2. The areas that have high crime rates have a high number of vacancies.
What is troubling to me is that no one seems to want to talk about this. It would be as if a discussion about lung cancer deaths did not include the problem of smoking.
Written by Paul Dribin
I continue to be appalled by some of the garbage research that gets published in the name of social science and urban development. A recent one was published by The Brookings Institution titled The Devaluation of Assets in the Black Community. This is certainly a provocative title.
The research presumed to show that single family homes in the black communities are worth less than comparable houses in white communities. This is something that is hardly a surprise. These differences can be explained by lots of reasons, most prominently crime and schools. The authors made elaborate adjustments to properties and concluded there must be other reasons than the usual real estate ones for the difference in price. That difference of course was race.
If they could have shown comparable neighborhoods where everything was the same except race they could have made a point. Of course, they didn’t do any such thing.
My real problem is the concept of devaluation which assumes there is a proper value for any piece of real estate, or anything else. I could argue my house in St. Louis is devalued compared to San Francisco. These comparisons are meaningless. In St. Louis, black families moved out of historically black neighborhoods in huge numbers for reasons I stated, safety and good schools. Hardly surprising. Written by Paul Dribin
Poor people have very serious problems, that don’t need exaggeration. I have worked my whole professional life to address the problems of poverty. The progressive left is making a serious mistake by romanticizing the poor.
David Brooks has some excellent words on this subject. He states that conservative exaggerate by saying that all the problems of poverty are caused by the individuals and progressive make the same mistake by blaming all the problems on institutions. The reality is somewhere in the middle.
In managing affordable housing I have seen numerous instances where the low income individuals make poor decisions that are within their control that make their situations worse. These include abusive relationships, not putting emphasis on a good education, and engaging in drugs and crime. Poverty is not an excuse for this behavior. Let’s not romanticize things. Written by Paul Dribin
Urban Planners talk about the need for community involvement in neighborhood development. That is good. Similarly, public housing residents need to have their ideas included in planning for the future of their developments. Yet, in St. Louis I sometimes think democracy has gone overboard. It seems that everyone no matter how wacky their idea has an equal say in the future of our communities. I certainly see that problem in the failure of the McKee effort to redevelop north St. Louis. People get worn out and nickel and dimed.
My first job with HUD was to insure and improve tenant participation in public housing. In all, participation tended to be low. Poor people participate less in public life less than wealthier people, that is partially why they are poor. More important, they simply lack the time for civic involvement.
A concrete example. The Darst-Webbe Hope VI redevelop[ment required tenant involvement. The remaining few tenants in the failed original project refused to be supportive of a complete demolition and redevelopment. Why? They were selling drugs and didn’t want that activity disrupted. It has always puzzled me why tenants of public housing appear to have more say in the running of their project than other properties. All political theorists have agreed that direct democracy is a poor form of government. They are right. Written by Paul Dribin
There were two recent polls, one in which St. Louis was negatively mentioned, and another where St. Louis was ominously omitted. The first was a ranking by MoneyWise Magazine which ranked St. Louis as the worst place in the United States in which to retire. This ranking was largely based on crime. The second index ranked the 25 places in which young people are ready to move. St. Louis was not on the list(Kansas City was). These polls by themselves are not significant but fit an overall pattern outlining the negative aspects of St. Louis life. Written by Paul Dribin