With HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson's departure, it's time to begin reinvesting in the nation's public housing stock.
"Alphonso R. Jackson took credit for improving public housing when he announced his resignation last week as secretary of housing and urban development. But, in fact, the Bush administration has attempted to starve the once-promising Hope VI program aimed at urban poverty. Members of Congress, including Maryland's Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, have kept it on life support, and now a more ambitious revitalization deserves passage.
Since 1992, Hope VI has used more than $6 billion in federal funds to help alleviate concentrated poverty by replacing dilapidated public housing projects with mixed-income development. The program offered chances at homeownership and other opportunities to boost the economic fortunes of neighborhoods and their residents.
But too often, low-income residents have seen their homes destroyed but not replaced. And while many families have been able to use vouchers to resettle in better neighborhoods, others have found their housing options limited. In Baltimore, complexes such as Pleasant View Gardens and the Terraces replaced crime-ridden projects, but there were fewer new units and some displaced families no longer qualified."
"After years of neglect, what's most important is to restore viability to Hope VI and offer better public housing options."