sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I took yesterday off to train for what I consider the best road race around, Old Town's Five-Mile Beer Run. It's at a most reasonable hour and there's a great party afterward. I'm taking a good bit of today off because my basement looks like Wharton's, and I'm finally tired of it.

But I have some thoughts with regard to Hoggard's take on this morning's N&R article on unpaid public housing loans.

I know I got fired up about St. James Homes a couple of weeks ago, but this morning's article didn't fire me up I did some independent research on the matter and have concluded that the public housing system is in need of serious reform, just like many aspects of government. It's reality.

Hoggard asks, "With such a high level of need in Greensboro for low-income housing, why are those apartments vacant?" Good question. I'll take it a step further: What exactly is the demand for public housing in Greensboro? Could it be that, with the obvious abundance of government money available for public housing, that the "market" is flooded? Could it be that, during the ongoing building boom, the free market is providing competition for public housing? Could it be that initial reforms such as vouchers are sparking that competition? Could it be that, in spite of the recent recession, there are fewer people with the need for public housing than ever before?

What also makes me think that the "market" for public housing is down is the fact that Greensboro does not have a horrific problem with homelessness. I remember Lorraine Ahearn's column that stated there were 228 known homeless people in Greensboro. That's certainly a bad situation for those 228 individuals, and I have confidence that programs are in place to help them. I also realize that's 228 "known" homeless people. But somehow I doubt that the number of uncounted homeless people would be exponentially higher than the "known" number.

Either way, that's not a huge percentage in a city of roughly 230,000 people. So it's my belief that most people in Greensboro are able to find affordable housing. That's the thing about Greenboro: While the job market or wages might not be as great as Raleigh or Charlotte, it's a lot cheaper to live here.

Help me out if I'm missing it.


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