Gary, Indiana Turns Out Public Housing Lights, Prays For Landlord Candles

Thousands of orange candle-lit paper bags lift skyward in a Buddhist ceremony

U.S. President George H.W. Bush’s description of charities as “a thousand tiny points of light” has taken a rightful place in history and literature as a truly hopeful and evocative description of any nation’s charities.

Ultimately, however, evoking charity to rescue a critical and growing community need seems a very poor foundation for effective public policy, especially in the middle of a pandemic. And yet we see Gary, Indiana, with much anguish and handwringing, demolishing its community foundation of truly affordable housing — the city’s existing public housing which, for all its faults, has been in place and doing an essential housing job for decades.

And what is to replace this housing? Gary is pinning its hope on those “thousand tiny points of light.” The city is looking for a charitable solution for its ever-deepening housing crisis for those with low- and no- incomes.

Which tiny points of light in particular? Gary is hoping for charity from “a thousand tiny” landlords who, out the goodness of their hearts, will agree to accept federal Section 8 housing vouchers and rent their shelter to a poverty-stricken citizen. It’s something they are under no obligation to do and which will restrict the ways in which they are permitted manage their small rental businesses.

Really? hoping for charity? Is this a sensible way of ensuring shelter for a Gary’s most vulnerable citizens, and for that matter, a sensible way for the federal government to be supporting Gary’s critical housing needs? Read more at nwi.com: Gary moving residents out of public housing

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