diane, there's brief video news clip at this link showing i heard like 2400 or 24000? people nearly rioting in line for public housing applications in georgia yesterday.if you get permission, use a clip of this as part of documentary as it walloped me as to how serious america is underwater
In just that brief moment I was connected to thousands of desperate people in the Atlanta area, and the invisible millions across the country.
In Atlanta right now, 9:00 p.m., it's 93 steaming freaking hot degrees. I join most people who grumble mightily when it's hot, cold, windy, foggy...you get the idea. People standing on a hot asphalt parking lot for hours or days...now that's something to complain about.
Let's get one thing out of the way right now. For those who use this as an opportunity to paint the pushing and shoving during this application distribution with an ugly black racial brush, let's just use our vivid imaginations and picture any race and/or class of people desperate for what is going to be given away (much less a CHANCE to get a vital housing certificate that would greatly relieve your housing cost burden and perhaps improve the environment you and your family live in), set you for hours or days on a brutally broiling parking lot in an extremely overcrowded and unorganized setting, hmmm....wonder what would happen?
We all get a little crazy when forced to stand in line for 5 minutes in an air conditioned McDonald's! What if it could mean something better for our families? People tough it out. Incredibly, over 75% of the entire population of this beleaguered town of about 40,000 may have gathered for this event.
Section 8 certificates are like gold for the ever-growing income challenged population in our previously wealthy country. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees the Section 8 program on the broad level. Local housing authorities deliver on the community levels, with citizen board members appointed/elected to supposedly oversee the process.
I'm sure I would get boo's from the crowd (that are probably too poor to have Internet and read blogs) by asking if this is a well-run public housing authority. Most PHAs I've encountered are infuriatingly abysmal, and I'm not depending on them for my housing. Another story for another post.
The fact that the applications for vouchers haven't been made available for 8 years in this income-ravaged area, well, I'd suppose things could be a tad, um, insanely difficult in many households, not to mention the homeless families. Remember, these applications are just the 1st step. They have to be reviewed and applicants must be able to crawl through the eye of a needle to qualify. Even people with bad credit are winnowed out. When my friend said "America is underwater," she ain't kidding.
So much galls me about this display of blatant disregard for the "customers" of this tax-payer funded housing service organization that I am, well, hot. To hear the head of the EPHA say she thinks they did a good job considering...well, I'd have her head on a platter, or at least make her stand in the heat among a riotous crowd for a few days if I were the mayor. To that point, here's the city of East Point's official form for reporting problems. If you're as outraged as I am about how our sisters and brothers were treated in this process, take a few moments and share your feedback with Mayor Earnestine Pittman. Ask her to go up the food chain to Congressman Lewis and find out how to get more housing certificates.
Seems to me that if we have this wonderful (sometimes) tool called the Internet, we could do a better job making it work for the good of people. Writing this post, with my sweaty fingers sticking to the keyboard and perspiration cascading down my face has been good therapy. Next month when I'm in the Atlanta area, I might just see if I can meet with East Point's mayor and the EPHA director. I want to hear their secret for staying cool in these hot times.