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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “poverty”

St. Louis Chosen for ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative | Catholic Charities

St. Louis Chosen for ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative | Catholic Charities
— Read on www.ccstl.org/st-louis-chosen-for-healthy-housing-initiative/

This is great news. I helped st Patricks get started with hospital-homelessness initiative

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Housing Idea 3-Don’t Romanticize the Poor

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

Ideas About Housing -Too Much Democracy is Bad

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

This article talks around the vacancy issue

www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/st-louis-has-a-plan-for-vacancy/article_039ec2ca-751d-5451-b039-f6f60baa239d.html

what is a chief resiliency officer?

Government Shutdown Hurting Low Income Housing Programs

nyti.ms/2Hnt8QP

Article is from The New York Times

Vacancies in St. Louis

As you may know, there has been a collaborative formed to address the huge vacancy problem in St. Louis. Various task forces are meeting and I participate in two of them. Most of the people at the meetings appear to be community activists with a smattering of developers.

The discussions have generally been good but rather general in nature. We do not seem to want to address the key problems which I see as:

1. Outmoded methods of management and sales by LRA.

2. The higher cost of doing business in St. Louis.

3. Historical preservation

4. Crime

5. The overall oversupply of housing and undersupply of population in the region.

6. The unwillingness of the group to accept demolition.

Written by Paul Dribin

The Real Cause of Vacancies in St. Louis

At the suggestion of Todd Swanstrom, I read a book by his colleague titled Housing Dynamics in Northeast Ohio by Thomas E. Bier. The book written about the Cleveland area is also applicable to St. Louis and many other cities.

The argument in the book backed by data is that vacancies occur when there is an oversupply of housing in the region. This oversupply of housing occurs because developers are looking to profit by building more housing, and land is cheaper in the suburbs. The author points out that when there is an oversupply the oldest, most worn out housing loses all market desirability and becomes vacant. The problem is made worse because developers can more economically build in the suburbs and the infrastructure in the suburbs is stronger.

This plays out when we look at the north side of St. Louis. There will only be a turnaround if the city figures out how to streamline its development requirements, crime is controlled, and schools turn around. In addition a marketing campaign to young people around the company would help. We could offer free housing and lots of land. Written by Paul Dribin

Maplewood Nuisance Ordinance

Maplewood an inner suburb of St. Louis has had a nuisance ordinance which has been challenged by the ACLU. In a settlement the city agreed to change the ordinance.

The sticking point was that more than a certain number of calls to the police could get a tenant evicted. In the case of a woman suffering from domestic abuse, calling the police is usually a necessity.

I believe nuisance ordinances serve an important service. They need to be reasonable in how they are enforced.

Can Affordable Housing Development Lead to Gentrification

nyti.ms/2OOexgN

An interesting article from the Times. A New York City neighborhood builds more mixed income housing in an effort to increase affordable housing. Some neighborhood residents complain they will be pushed out. There do not seem to be any good answers. Written by Paul Dribin

Negative Attitudes Toward Welfare

nyti.ms/2OJj5oV

An interesting article in the New York Times that use of government programs has risen but people hate the term welfare.

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