Public Housing / Section 8 Budget Cuts — Brooklynian

Public Housing / Section 8 Budget Cuts

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/nyregion/budget-cuts-reshape-new-yorks-public-housing.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

Entitled...  Deserve... These types of words bother me.  While we/the government may have an  obligation to help the less fortunate, we do not have an obligation to provide them with all the comforts they desire, assuming they have able bodies and able minds.  Let these capable people who feel they are entitled or deserve something better find a way to earn/get these items on their wish list for themselves.  Most of us struggle... it doesn't come easy...  but you can't just sit around and enjoy life living off the fat of the land.  It's a fair statement, and they need to understand, that if someone else is paying your bills, you don't have much say in what they give you, assuming you are provided the basic necessities to live.  After all, there's has got to be some incentive for one to want/strive to graduate from public assistance programs.


Comments

  • edited September 2014
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/nyregion/budget-cuts-reshape-new-yorks-public-housing.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

    Entitled...  Deserve... These types of words bother me.  While we/the government may have an  obligation to help the less fortunate, we do not have an obligation to provide them with all the comforts they desire, assuming they have able bodies and able minds.  Let these capable people who feel they are entitled or deserve something better find a way to earn/get these items on their wish list for themselves.  Most of us struggle... it doesn't come easy...  but you can't just sit around and enjoy life living off the fat of the land.  It's a fair statement, and they need to understand, that if someone else is paying your bills, you don't have much say in what they give you, assuming you are provided the basic necessities to live.  After all, there's has got to be some incentive for one to want/strive to graduate from public assistance programs.


    To be fair, Diane Robinson's son  (featured in the story) who lives with her is working part-time to help out with expenses and he is going to school. Christina Sanchez is retired and at age 67 should be receiving Social Security by now. 

    This policy seems odd:

    "Under the new standards, two-person households living in two-bedroom apartments, like Ms. Robinson’s, must switch to a one-bedroom regardless of the tenants’ genders, relationship or ages."


  • edited September 2014
    Regardless, that policy is real and nationwide.

    In NYC, HPD is the entity that enforces the HUD rules for non NYCHA tenants.

    HPD has been told that if they don't enforce the policy, the fenderal share of their funding will be removed:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/HPD-Subsidy-Standards-Chart.pdf
  • Some modest  income landlords in less desirable hoods prefer section 8 housing for its garenteed rent and minimal upkeep. That is one type of low income housing in which downsizing affects landlords too.
  • edited September 2014
    Section 8 tenants are very sought after in many regions of the country, for exactly those reasons.

    In much of the country, a market rate 1 BR apartment in good condition and a sane neighborhood can be had for $1000. If a tenant earns around $1500 a month (about $18k a year), they would pay $450 a month in rent (30% of their income) and the Section 8 voucher would pay the difference ($550). If you like, imagine a 25 y/o Dental Assistant with a child.

    NYC used to have lots of landlords interested in taking Section 8, but now that market rate is greater, the landlords are withdrawing from the program. This is coupled with new vouchers being in such demand in NYC that for the past several years (decades?) they have only been available via lottery, and/or are reserved for persons with a psychiatric or physical disabilities.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/section8/section_8_voucher.shtml

    So, if you are a "new" tenant, the vouchers are hard to get and then (once you have them) they are hard to use.

    As discussed above, if you are "old tenant" with a Section 8 voucher you have had for a long time, you may have to move to a smaller apartment.

    Needless to say, the private landlords that DO still accept Section 8 are opposed to the enforcement of the downsizing rules as well. When the rules are not enforced by NYC or other municipalities, the LLs are able to rent large units to few people and be paid for it.

    ....when the rules are enforced, they must fill those large units with lots of tenants in order to be paid. Lots of tenants = more work for the same $.

    NYCHA is impacted as well.
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: To be fair, Diane Robinson's son  (featured in the story) who lives with her is working part-time to help out with expenses and he is going to school. Christina Sanchez is retired and at age 67 should be receiving Social Security by now. 
    I am not sure why that is a relevant...

    Diana Robinson and her son don't have to live in the lap of luxury (yes; a little exaggeration, but you get the point) while he is in college.  If they don't want to share a room (understandably), I feel he can sleep in the living room, and it would not be the worst thing in the world; there are people that have things much more difficult (kind of like a "first world problem").  There are many people who sleep "on couches" for an extended period of time in the homes of family or friends for one reason or another.  Besides, this provides for an incentive for him to get out of the status quo quickly, accomplished by working a second job or taking additional classes to graduate earlier; again, something we all, or most of us, can relate to.

    And Christina Sanchez; why can't she downsize?!  Why does she 'deserve' more than the security of a simple roof over her head and a safe and healthy environment to call home?


  • And Christina Sanchez; why can't she downsize?!  Why does she 'deserve' more than the security of a simple roof over her head and a safe and healthy environment to call home?
    And that ridiculous water view. 

    I'm with you, Southeast. 
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: To be fair, Diane Robinson's son  (featured in the story) who lives with her is working part-time to help out with expenses and he is going to school. Christina Sanchez is retired and at age 67 should be receiving Social Security by now. 
    I am not sure why that is a relevant...

    Diana Robinson and her son don't have to live in the lap of luxury (yes; a little exaggeration, but you get the point)
    Actually the exaggeration was my point.
    If they don't want to share a room (understandably), I feel he can sleep in the living room, and it would not be the worst thing in the world; there are people that have things much more difficult (kind of like a "first world problem").  There are many people who sleep "on couches" for an extended period of time in the homes of family or friends for one reason or another.  Besides, this provides for an incentive for him to get out of the status quo quickly, accomplished by working a second job or taking additional classes to graduate earlier; again, something we all, or most of us, can relate to.
    I already know what that's like. I grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in a family of four. I was the one who grew up sleeping on the couch with a sibling, and I know that situation is not ideal. Not much this woman's son can do now while he is still a student. 
  • I suspect many readers of the NYT have no idea what is like.

    They may not understand just how scarce housing is, and how stretched government budgets are to keep low income people out of shelters.

    Some NYT readers may believe that scarcity does not exist.
  • @mugofmead111 said: Not much this woman's son can do now while he is still a student.

    Yes; there is.  He can live uncomfortably until he graduates and get's a full time job, or as I said before, work a second job/longer hours so he can afford something of his own.  The alternative is to remove the incentive to "fly the coop," and  I am not sure that is the intelligent alternative.
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: Not much this woman's son can do now while he is still a student.

    Yes; there is.  He can live uncomfortably until he graduates and get's a full time job, or as I said before, work a second job/longer hours so he can afford something of his own.  The alternative is to remove the incentive to "fly the coop," and  I am not sure that is the intelligent alternative.
    If her son is a FT student (the article doesn't specify), working a second job may not be feasible. If he were in his last semester and taking a smaller course load, or a recent graduate, then that'd be a different story...unless he were also hoping to do an internship that is applicable to his field (many do not pay). Of course the son is in college that will hopefully provide an education that will help him find a job that will allow him to move out and support himself, right? 

    Depending on the program (right now I will only speak in generalities), the student is expected to make school a priority. Working a side job to pay the bills presents a conflict with this required class/recitation/other learning experience? Too bad, so sad, as far as the school is concerned. 
  • edited September 2014
    I suspect many readers of the NYT have no idea what is like.

    They may not understand just how scarce housing is, and how stretched government budgets are to keep low income people out of shelters.

    Some NYT readers may believe that scarcity does not exist.
    And that is the point.  The people living is public housing don't seem to understand this either.  Having people living in larger apartments than necessary is unsustainable.  I don't care what personal reasons one has to justify more "convenience;" as long as they have the security of a roof and safe/healthy environment, they don't need space for a "sofa bed," guest room, etc.  

    Maybe Christina Sanchez can give her sofa bed to Diana Robinson's son so he can sleep in the living room in relative comfort and give his mother some privacy.

    It's interesting to think that there are people doing what I'm suggesting while making significantly more money than the combined income of Ms. Robinson and her son ($25k + her son's part time job).  Everyday people squarely in the middle income bracket are struggling to keep a roof over their heads while providing for a better future for their children, and, by the way, they are not living in one of the most expensive, if not 'the' most expensive, city in the US; and they don't even qualify for public housing.

    Didn't your mother always tell you to live within your means?  Oh, wait, that doesn't apply if someone else is paying the bills.  In fact, they appear to think that they deserve to live a more expensive lifestyle (say, how much would Ms. Sanchez's water front apartment be worth?) than 90% of those actually paying for their lifestyle.
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: If her son is a FT student (the article doesn't specify), working a second job may not be feasible. If he were in his last semester and taking a smaller course load, or a recent graduate, then that'd be a different story...unless he were also hoping to do an internship that is applicable to his field (many do not pay). Of course the son is in college that will hopefully provide an education that will help him find a job that will allow him to move out and support himself, right? 

    Assuming we give him the incentive to actually move out.

    @mugofmead111 said: Depending on the program (right now I will only speak in generalities), the student is expected to make school a priority. Working a side job to pay the bills presents a conflict with this required class/recitation/other learning experience? Too bad, so sad, as far as the school is concerned. 
    Okay; and I still don't understand why the living room is not an option.
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: If her son is a FT student (the article doesn't specify), working a second job may not be feasible. If he were in his last semester and taking a smaller course load, or a recent graduate, then that'd be a different story...unless he were also hoping to do an internship that is applicable to his field (many do not pay). Of course the son is in college that will hopefully provide an education that will help him find a job that will allow him to move out and support himself, right? 

    Assuming we give him the incentive to actually move out.

    @mugofmead111 said: Depending on the program (right now I will only speak in generalities), the student is expected to make school a priority. Working a side job to pay the bills presents a conflict with this required class/recitation/other learning experience? Too bad, so sad, as far as the school is concerned. 
    Okay; and I still don't understand why the living room is not an option.


    A "living room" is not a bedroom. 


  • Entitled...  Deserve... These types of words bother me.
    I have to say, I was struck by those words in the article too. On the other hand, the working kid who is living with his mom while he is a student can't have his own bedroom? Seems ridiculous to me.

    Of course, the larger issue is the many employers who do not pay a living wage and then outsource those costs onto the public.
  • They would pay higher wages only if the supply of employees with the requisite skill was reduced.
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 - Thank you very much for the legal definition of a bedroom.  And your point is?

    I still don't understand why "I" have to pay for them to have two bedrooms.  If they find it necessary for both him and his mom to sleep in a room that fits the legal definition of a bedroom, let them share the bedroom.  If they decide that mom needs privacy, the son can sleep in the living room, and to the best of my knowledge, he won't be running afoul of any laws.  If mom wants to give her son privacy, she can sleep in the living room.  It's their choice.

    I will share a relevant story:  I personally know a single mom who chose to live in the Upper East Side for various reasons.  One of the reasons were that her son has special needs and was going to a school nearby (If I remember correctly, it was Hunter).  She was making a decent living; however, she couldn't afford a two bedroom.  She chose to rent a one bedroom and actually gave her son the bedroom so he can have the space he needs to study and go to bed early without being disturbed if things were going on in the kitchen/living space.  This was her choice - mom in the living room; a choice/sacrifice she made for her son.  And this is someone who was not "on the dole."  This was a temporary arrangement.  When her son was done with school in the Upper East Side, they moved into a two bedroom in an affordable area.  Compare and contrast, as you see fit, to the issue at hand...
  • edited September 2014
    Entitled...  Deserve... These types of words bother me.
    I have to say, I was struck by those words in the article too. On the other hand, the working kid who is living with his mom while he is a student can't have his own bedroom? Seems ridiculous to me.

    Of course, the larger issue is the many employers who do not pay a living wage and then outsource those costs onto the public.
    That was the main point of my argument. I can't really defend a person living alone in a 2-bedroom or a 3-bedroom apartment who is expected to downsize (unless the person has special circumstances that fit the exceptions described in the article).

    re: "@mugofmead111 - Thank you very much for the legal definition of a bedroom.  And your point is? "

    @southeast - It was in response to "Okay; and I still don't understand why the living room is not an option." Was that not clear?
  • When I was growing up my best friend and his family lived in a one bedroom apartment in a house that his mother's parents owned. The parents slept in the living room on the sofa bed and he and his sister who was four years older shared the bedroom. Sometimes it was funny because if I came over early on the weekend his parents would still be sleeping and I'd have to walk by them to get to his bedroom. I personally shared a bedroom with my four year older sister until I was 14. We thought it was natural and that was that. People expect a lot these days.
  • If the goal of the NYT was to find a family that was encountering substanstial hardship as a result of the downsizing rule, they should have done more research.

    If the goal was to find a typical family being affected by the rule, I think they picked a pretty good one.

    One can imagine families affected by these rules that are for more disadvantaged.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/HPD-Subsidy-Standards-Chart.pdf
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: It was in response to "Okay; and I still don't understand why the living room is not an option." Was that not clear?

    You did not address why the living room is not a viable, albeit not an optimal, option, never mind the idea that the government should be required to provide them with two bedrooms.  The fact that it is not a legal bedroom does not preclude sleeping there.  

    See what I wrote above - "If they find it necessary for both him and his mom to sleep in a room that fits the legal definition of a bedroom, let them share the bedroom.  If they decide that mom needs privacy, the son can sleep in the living room, and to the best of my knowledge, he won't be running afoul of any laws.  If mom wants to give her son privacy, she can sleep in the living room.  It's their choice."
  • edited September 2014
    When I was growing up my best friend and his family lived in a one bedroom apartment in a house that his mother's parents owned. The parents slept in the living room on the sofa bed and he and his sister who was four years older shared the bedroom. Sometimes it was funny because if I came over early on the weekend his parents would still be sleeping and I'd have to walk by them to get to his bedroom. I personally shared a bedroom with my four year older sister until I was 14. We thought it was natural and that was that. People expect a lot these days.
    I grew up in a similar arrangement. Not until I was much older did I realize that wasn't really normal. We didn't have many visitors at all outside of immediate family. 

    I don't think wanting two adults who are of different genders not to be sharing a bedroom is too much. 

    My point, @southeast, is that the mother and the son shouldn't have to make that choice of whether to sleep in the bedroom or sleep in the living room. That was my main point all along. 
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead111 said: My point, @southeast, is that the mother and the son shouldn't have to make that choice.

    I respectfully disagree.  

    Choices/sacrifices are made daily by many (see the story I mentioned regarding the woman and son living in the UES), and incentives to work for a better life are necessary.  Handouts should not be the norm or relied upon consistently by able persons.  And when taking public assistance, one can't be picky but should simply be appreciative that we have a supportive society that will give you a hand when necessary; a hand that should, when dealing with able persons, be temporary in nature.

    Again, doesn't it bother you that "they appear to think that they deserve to live a more expensive lifestyle (say, how much would Ms. Sanchez's water front apartment be worth?) than 90% of those actually paying for their lifestyle."

    The particular facts mentioned in this article are laughable.  I almost feel like telling them to stop acting like "babies" and to "grow up."  As @whynot_31 mentioned, "One can imagine families affected by these rules that are for more disadvantaged."  
  • The most significant impact of these rules occurs within NYCHA. There, the apartments were built for large families, and the wait list is huge. When a household shrinks, there are rarely smaller apartments within the complex for them to move in. Instead, they are told to take their Section 8 voucher and find some place outside of NYCHA.

    As a result of how few landlords in NYC are willing to take the vouchers, it takes a very talented NYCHA tenant to pull it off, and many end up in shelters.

    However, their former apartment is used to house more people. So, when looked at from a "net people housed" perspective, it makes sense.

    NYCHA is a mess:
    http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5214-ritchie-torres-nycha-crisis-public-housing-committee-chair
  • edited September 2014
    If the goal of the NYT was to find a family that was encountering substanstial hardship as a result of the downsizing rule, they should have done more research.

    If the goal was to find a typical family being affected by the rule, I think they picked a pretty good one.

    One can imagine families affected by these rules that are for more disadvantaged.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/HPD-Subsidy-Standards-Chart.pdf
    Apparently, "Housing officials are waiving their policy for tenants who have a disability or medical condition that requires a larger unit to accommodate a live-in aide or medical equipment.  The city has granted 699 accommodations as of late August."

    Housing offices are not totally inhumane.
  • edited September 2014
    HUD, NYCHA and HPD all allow exceptions for people able to produce the necessary paperwork.

    Eventually, this has a weird effect: It causes the developments to be occupied by greater proportion of disabled people than they were designed for.

    Imagine if you will, buildings in which the medically infirmed and young, single mother headed households attempt to co-exist. Neither group has much money or other resources. NYCHA and private buildings that accept Section 8 have always met this description to a degree, but now are being pressured to meet it even more.
  • @mugofmead111 said: My point, @southeast, is that the mother and the son shouldn't have to make that choice.

    I respectfully disagree.  

    Choices/sacrifices are made daily by many (see the story I mentioned regarding the woman and son living in the UES), and incentives to work for a better life are necessary.  Handouts should not be the norm or relied upon consistently by able persons.  And when taking public assistance, one can't be picky but should simply be appreciative that we have a supportive society that will give you a hand when necessary; a hand that should, when dealing with able persons, be temporary in nature.
    Where did I say that I expected these "handouts" to be "permanent"? Did anything that Diane Robinson said in the NY Times story indicated that she expected her son to live with her permanently?



  • edited September 2014
    HUD, NYCHA and HPD all allow exceptions for people able to produce the necessary paperwork.

    Eventually, this has a weird effect: It causes the developments to be occupied by great proportion of disabled people than they were designed for.

    Imagine if you will, buildings in which the medically infirmed and young, single mother headed households attempt to co-exist. Neither group has much money or other resources. NYCHA and private buildings that accept Section 8 have always met this description to a degree, but now are being pressured to meet it even more.
    Like the presumably mentally ill mentioned in the other recent thread?



  • edited September 2014
    Yes.

    We basically have a system that was designed to house the working class, but no longer has the resources to do so, because the working class can not effectively force them to do so.

    This is in contrast to the class below them: An underclass which must be housed, or it will consume resources that are far more expensive: prisons, jails, shelters, etc.

    Thru such expenses and lawsuits re: human rights, this bottom class has forced the city to house them, and is effectively taking resources from the class above it.

    ...the working class looks very bad they complain about it.
  • edited September 2014
    @mugofmead said: Where did I say that I expected these "handouts" to be "permanent"? Did anything that Diane Robinson said in the NY Times story indicated that she expected her son to live with her permanently?
    Apologies if that is the way you understood that.  I did not intend to say that you said anything to that effect.  We simply disagree on whether the mother and son should have to make such a choice.  

    And the point I am trying to bring home is that 1) given these facts, I don't feel it is that bad for someone to have to make such choices or is living under these circumstances, and that 2) this inconvenience will help ensure that this is indeed temporary in nature.  If the recipients don't see this as permanent, even better.
  • What annoys me about this article is citing lack of space for guests to stay when visiting as a reason for keeping someone in a too large apartment. Seriously, that is not gonna win you any friends. My family lives in a two bedroom apartment and when guests come to stay with us-usually our elderly parents-they know they are getting the living room couch or air mattress, or our bed while we sleep in the living room. We're all on top if each other. I'd love an extra room for guests. But sometimes that is not in the cards.
  • Privacy used to be a luxury. I grew up in a railroad apartment . Where you walked thru other bedrooms to get to yours. Was fine for me.
  • I don't know the writer's intention, but it certainly has the effect of evoking the belief that the poor are poor as a result of their own choices, and presently living better than they deserve.

    This article discusses the phenomena in Britain.

    " The myth of the lazy poor persists because it makes people feel better. Everyone wants to believe they deserve their good fortune – and that other people’s misfortune is down to their “something-for-nothing culture”. Benefits Street might seem like grim viewing but, actually, it’s pure escapism."

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/benefits-street-returns-the-myth-thats-worth-hitting-9731482.html
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