As usual, Jeff Gillenwater keeps it simple and direct. I urge readers to contact Mayor Gahan, the City Council and the Floyd County Democratic Party, and ask them why this assault on the New Albany Housing Authority is being prioritized.
For the unfamiliar, it might be helpful to know a few things.
1. Public housing units are often demolished with the promise of one-to-one replacement. That rarely actually happens and the displacement discrepancy is often significant. The City of Louisville, for instance, cannot begin to tell you what actually happened to lots of if not most former residents of complexes they’ve demolished. New Albany, on the other hand, isn’t even pretending to do one-to-one replacement.
2. Much like in Louisville, the units not slated via Camp Gahan for rehab/replacement on site in New Albany are the ones located in areas considered most valuable by private developers. The “land grab” evidence is strong.
3. A lot of research suggests that decentralization of subsidized housing does not benefit residents and often creates problems for others as the problems and/or problematic people the residents were experiencing just continue on in their new locations sans the community self-help and support mechanisms they may have built in their previous locations. While the “project” areas get “better” (read as: gentrified), the residents often don’t as their opportunities or lack there of don’t change simply by virtue of being separated from friends in a strange place. Poverty related issues are just dispersed across other neighborhoods which often don’t have the service base to deal with them.
4. In New Albany, these are the very same government officials who recently successfully conspired to fork over millions of public dollars to a private developer who’s building an “upscale” apartment complex in my neighborhood charging unprecedented rents way above current market rates. These folks are quite literally subsidizing housing for the wealthy while cutting it for the poor so the land on which they currently live can be redeveloped.