City housing relocation plan faulted by readers Mayor...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

July 01, 2000

City housing relocation plan faulted by readers

Mayor Martin O'Malley has a right to be "outraged" ("Plight of those stranded in projects sparks anger," June 20).

The deplorable federal, state and local housing policies of the past several decades are beginning to yield disastrous consequences.

As noted in The Sun, public housing facilities such as Broadway Homes, Flag House Courts and Hollander Ridge are being replaced with "new, well-designed complexes ... with far fewer apartments." These planned demolitions only continue the decades-long trend toward the reduction of affordable housing units in Baltimore City.

The resulting communities are certainly cleaner and safer than their predecessors (witness the city's flagship community, Pleasant View Gardens).

But in many cases, only a third of the new units are available to the low-income Baltimoreans previously residing there, and there is no clear sign that the lost units of affordable housing are being replaced elsewhere in the city.

Decreased availability of affordable housing results directly in increased homelessness. Of this there is no question.

Mayor O'Malley has an opportunity to redirect the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and to provide ample housing resources for all Baltimoreans, regardless of income.

A few modest steps in the right direction include immediate implementation of a one-to-one housing replacement policy, which would ensure continued availability of housing affordable to low-income people when existing units are demolished; a local "inclusionary zoning" ordinance requiring that 30 percent of all market- rate housing projects be made available to low-income city residents; and implementation of Baltimore City Task Force on Homelessness recommendations that call for new construction of affordable housing.

Jeff Singer

Kevin Lindamood

Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, president and community relations coordinator of Health Care for the Homeless Inc.

In reference to the article "Left behind in danger and dark" (June 17), I wish to make the following comments.

As a black male who was taught at an early age that to have anything, you must work, I was appalled, but sadly not at all surprised, to read about Rhonda Calhoun, age 45 with nine children, who has never held a job.

While she was having all those children, did it not occur to her that she would encounter problems finding suitable and safe housing?

No fathers are mentioned, so one can conclude that none were around, so the burden was hers. All three of the women in the article lamented the living conditions they endure, but none offered anything they were willing to do to alleviate some of their misery.

With 14 children and three adults, they could remove a lot of trash and other things from around their homes.

If they are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

Garland L. Crosby

Baltimore

Does anybody care ?

This is the beginning sentence of the last paragraph in the article "Left behind in dark and danger," stories of families waiting to be relocated from the Broadway Homes projects, which are scheduled for demolition in a few months.

We care, and are willing to help those who cannot help themselves. In this issue, the picture on the front page is of an apparently healthy 22-year-old woman, well-dressed, donned in jewelry, waiting to be relocated. Why isn't she working and paying for her own apartment?

Another family is a 45-year-old single mother with nine children. According to the article, she has never worked. Why? And where are the father and or fathers of these children? There is something wrong with these pictures.

My grandparents came to this country from Poland and could not read or write. They bought a house, raised nine children and never took a penny from the government.

We care, but we do not appreciate being taken advantage of. God helps those who help themselves.

George Kropkowski

Baltimore

Kurt Streeter's article ("Left behind in danger and dark," June 17) states the situation clearly. However, it gives a free ride to the Housing Authority.

As president of the Broadway Homes Resident Cooperative Inc., I've been involved in two relocations: the Broadway high-rise done very successfully by the Daniel Henson administration that involved more than 300 seniors, and the low-rise townhouses started by the Henson administration and continuing under the Pat Payne administration, which involve 99 families.

The main reason this second relocation is a complete failure falls on the lack of leadership and evident concern for the poor by members of this administration. They lied when they said they had a full relocation staff for the first six months. In fact, the staff commutes between the Flag and Broadway communities.

What kind of leadership would have a four-person management staff to serve the remaining residents at a cost of about $2,500 per week, but not have a $30-a- month phone to communicate with?

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