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News report shows something must be done

By   /   November 22, 2013  /   Comments

The other day, WFXL reported some of the relatively high incomes currently living in public housing.  Officials claim that those individuals with such incomes didn’t have that high of an income when they first moved into public housing, though now they do and those same officials claim there’s not really anything they can do about it.

I don’t know about you, but I know how I feel about someone who makes almost $60,000 living in housing that my tax dollars subsidize.

Blaming the officials for this mess would be easy, but unfortunately it’s not all on them.  Part of that blame simply must fall on society as a whole.  Yes, officials should have done something to push out tenants who were no longer eligible for public housing assistance.   The WFXL report tells us that at one time, rent for these facilities was 30 percent of an individual’s income.  This seems like a very workable method if, for some idiotic reason, authorities aren’t just allowed to evict someone from public housing for making too much.

However, there is also something else to consider.  Once upon a time, living in public housing was something people were ashamed of.  They did it because they had no other choice, but as soon as someone was able to move out, they did.  Those days are long, long gone it seems.  Why else would someone making almost $60,000 opt to remain in public housing?  Even if their credit was less than great, they should still be able to find a place to rent that’s not paid for by tax dollars.

The simply truth is that people just don’t care anymore.  We have let it become alright to live off of government largess with no stigma attached.  I understand that many of you don’t agree with me about public assistance, but maybe you will agree with me that we shouldn’t be subsidizing people who make almost twice the median household income.  If we can agree on that, then maybe we should be able to agree that public assistance should at least be reserved for those who have need of it now until they can get back on their feet.

Now, WFXL does report that the number of people with relatively high incomes to be only a small number of individuals.  However, they also cut off at $30,000, which is just a hair above the median income linked above.  If the average rent in Albany is $625, we can figure that any income where that is 30 percent or more of the income is probably an income that doesn’t really need public housing.  That means any individual income of $25,000 per year or more should probably be out of public housing.

This doesn’t even touch married incomes.  Two people making $24,000 per year each can probably afford somewhere other than public housing as well.  Are they floating around in the mix as well?

Either way, we know there are people in public housing that don’t belong there.  It’s time for them to get out and make room for people who really need the help.  Lord know, Albany has more than enough of them already.

Tom Knighton
Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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