(9) comments Back to story

Don Schlessinger

Interesting article, looking forward to more.

Kelly Naschke

No easy answer to this problem.

Susan Fennewald

It would be interesting if the Daily News could do more. Are the low-income wage earners eligible for public housing. We now have some very nice public housing with the mixed income developments and they might not be able to afford the $1000 market rate units, but perhaps they could get some of the "public housing" units for 1/3rd of their income. That's how public housing should work, isn't it?

kathryneastburn Staff
Kathryn Eastburn

The income guidelines to qualify for public housing are very low and very restrictive. Many people fall somewhere in the middle between qualifying for public housing and being able to afford market rate housing. That's the dilemma. As for subsidies and people who qualify for Section 8 housing assistance vouchers through the housing authority/federal government, the waiting list usually is at about 2,000 or so.

Susan Fennewald

I can never understand how the rules of public housing work. Our area has a median family income of $76300 (according to HUD). Therefore, a family is low income who makes less than 80% of that - or $61K. If they devote 30% of their income to rent that's $1678/month. A family is very low income that makes less than 50% of the value or $38K (of which 30% for housing would be $1059). A family is considered extremely low income if they make less than 30% of the median, or $22K (30% for housing would be $635). So are even extremely low income families not allowed in public housing? Where are the rules written down so I can see them. It seems as if people making $20K or $30K should qualify.

Gary Miller

Las Angeles has the same problem. Housing costing more than workers can afford. Property owners love price increases that boost their equity. Many of LA's homeless are high mid income workers who can't find housing they can afford. The city increases it's homeless problem and increases property tax receipts by raising taxable property values. Government greed is causing the same problem in LA and Galveston.

Bailey Jones

It's not tax appraisers who are driving up the cost of housing, it's investors, renovators and speculators - i.e., the not at all invisible hand of the market. The real estate market doesn't care about the poor - the real money is in catering to the real money.

Wayne D Holt

Even those of us who recognize what capitalism has brought to the USA by way of broad, participatory wealth building have to admit that mature stage, post-Industrial Age capitalism is a zero sum game for the winners and losers in the system.

When we maximize our individual advantage, we in turn lessen the advantage to those placed further down the market food chain. Things like charitable giving and social services are necessary to fill the gap that develops between the haves and have-nots.

I don't have an answer and I don't know of a system that has worked better than capitalism to bring wealth to many. But we should be objective enough to admit that our mature capitalism is not a mechanism that will benefit that same broad class with the hidden hand of market forces as it has in the past. We are facing serious social issues that won't be resolved without fresh thinking on how to bring along more of our fellow Americans.

Bailey Jones

As I've said before, capitalism is great for the things that capitalism is great for. It isn't great for the things that it isn't great for. Among the things it isn't great for is providing for the mid and lower wage workers that it often depends on for both labor and customers. We need to not get so hung up on -isms, and concentrate on what does and doesn't work to solve our problems. In Galveston, I think what would work is some sort of public investment to convert abandoned buildings back into viable affordable housing. The benefit to the city in having these abandoned properties occupied by honest hard working locals would more than offset the cost, IMHO.

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