Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Answer for Neighborhoods

Recently at a town hall meeting, I learned that little ole New Albany has the third highest number of public housing units in the state. Yep, that's right, a town of around 40,000 has more public housing than Evansville or Fort Wayne. Only Indianapolis and Gary have greater quantities of public housing. Now I am all for helping people find shelter if they really need help. But, if New Albany wants to build on the revitalization that has started downtown, public housing is not the answer. Home ownership is the number one key to building great neighborhoods. These places must have residents that are here to stay, not renting month to month. A vested interest by long time home owners will turn these streets around and save the schools that are on the chopping block.

I propose that the city set aside a percentage of the funds received from the government to be used for down payments, rehab expenses or mortgage fees to those that will commit to living in these homes for an extended period of time. The landlords don't care about Silver Street, the tenants don't care if their kids move to another school. This cycle repeats itself over and over and the blocks get neglected by those that don't have a long term interest. If you own a car, you will take care of it. If you rent a car, chances are you won't treat it the same. There have been no solutions put forward in this area that I have heard and my suggestions may not work. The conversation needs to be started now before we lose valuable time and schools. With folks looking to move closer in because of energy costs, now is the perfect time to act.