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gochberg

Public housing's effects on development

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I'm a long time reader, but this is my first post.

Public housing seems to be a forbidden topic, even though it greatly affects private development. I live in the Edgehill neighborhood next to music row. It is a great neighborhood, and there is huge potential for residential and retail development. We are surrounded by new developments near to us. (The 12th South neighborhood is roughly a half mile to the South; the icon (in the gulch) is a half mile to the North; and Vanderbilt is a half mile to the West.) Unfortunately, the giant Edgehill Homes in the center of the neighborhood (along 12th Ave S.) seems to stop any significant new residential developments. The local police maps also indicates that crime is centered at the Edgehill Homes.

I understand that people have differing opinions on whether public housing helps people. (I am personally skeptical that it is the best way to spend public dollars. We do not, by way of example, have government run grocery stores or clothing stores, even though food and clothing are essentials. Why is housing different?) But whatever your opinion, doesn't it make sense not to locate public housing in areas where its presence inhibits development. This area would otherwise be some of the most sought after land in Nashville. If we included the effect on land values and development, what is the true cost of public housing?

Imagine if the 12th South neighborhood continued all along 12th Ave. Curious for your thoughts.

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Welcome to the forum -

We actually tried to purchase a home in your area (15th and Horton I believe) but the deal never finalized. The only concern I had was ths projects toward 12th. It seems the realtor told me there was a plan to raze them and rebuild individual units using Hope grants.

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nashville_bound,

Unfortunately, the federal HOPE program has ended, and there are no plans that I know of for changes to Edgehill Homes. If the city wanted to, they could use the value of the land to fund redevelopment. My guess is that a developer would be willing to redevelop a portion of the Edgehill Homes in exchange for using part of the land for townhomes or retail. Any developers out there interested? The location is prime.

Even with the public housing, it is still a great neighborhood. It's the only area that is affordable AND walking distance to Vanderbilt. Villa Place and 15th Ave have some very nice areas, and I have some wonderful neighbors.

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It really seems like Public Housing affects development for sure. I don't want to be in the middle of the projects in my new, nice townhome/condo. Nashville is choked on several sides by interstate and public housing, and so the only way for contiguous development is West. I think that if the projects weren't near Bicentennial Mall, there would be LOTS more going on there, because you have great views, etc. The problem is, there's not a ton you can do with Public Housing b/c you can't move it out into the boonies b/c that would upset people, and their an eyesore in the current spot.

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Does anyone have details on the new neighborhood about to begin construction on the former John Henry Hale homes site on Charlotte Ave? Being so close to downtown, I hope its character is more urban than that of the recently re-done Preston-Taylor homes.

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gochberg, you make a great point. Instead of having goverment run grocery stores, we provide food stamps that can be used at grocery stores. Instead of only government run hospitals, we have medicaid that can be used at any participating hospital. So why the government housing complexes?

I see this as two options:

1- We force people who can't pay for their own residence to live in small, government run, crime ridden area's. This is the current system. The major flaws are if the housing is bad, crime is really bad. Another flaw is if the housing is really nice, why would you want to work hard to get out? This is the current system

2- We have no government run housing, and instead, the government rents houses, apartments, etc. This system also has it's flaws. If you lease 50 out of 100 apartments in an apartment complex and move people there, you're going to have the same problems as now, and you will ruin an otherwise profitable apartment complex. If you decide to mix people in with the community (have a couple of rental properties in downtown, Joelton, Brentwood, Belle Meade to kinda spread things out), not only do you have to decide who lives where, but you have to deal with the resentment of a community that will feel like the housing projects are moving to Brentwood.

Maybe there are other options, but I don't know what's best. As a compassionate christian, I can't justify throwing people on the streets. But at the same time, if you give everything to someone who doesn't work, why will they go to work? Perhaps a layered approach would be best. Those who have worked hard and simply fallen on hard times get to have subsidized rentals in the community they are from. The longer you stay in public housing, the lower down your housing options get (you have to move from your brentwood rental, to a housing project, then finally to Shelby Towers?)

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Barakat,

The "new-look" John Henry Hales Homes are supposed to be very urban in their look and function. Recently, I talked to Phil Ryan (MDHA director) regarding this project and I am hopeful. However, full-scale work won't begin until 2007. Apparently there is a lot of site design work to be done.

WW

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i first think that we should worry about the problem of why people have to live in these projects. we can't just tear them down to put something prettier in it's place. we should however involve those who live in these areas to help better the comunity and the living conditions in these places. something like what barakat and william are talking about in the john henry hales homes would be a good start.

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i first think that we should worry about the problem of why people have to live in these projects. we can't just tear them down to put something prettier in it's place. we should however involve those who live in these areas to help better the comunity and the living conditions in these places. something like what barakat and william are talking about in the john henry hales homes would be a good start.

Good points.

I can't think of anyone who would want the projects cleaned up more than the majority of people who live there. I think there should be better tenant screening, no tolerance for drugs and other crimes, etc. Have all that as part of the lease. You violate it, you're out.

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That's pretty much the new rules now, sleepy, and its effects are noticeable. The new areas continue to look good and reflect pride in the neighborhoods.

I'll make no bones about who I want living next to me. Income doesn't matter. Pride, courtesy, respect do. For instance, I was just out working in the yard and the actual owners of a house next to me came to drop something off for their neice. The neice has three children from three different fathers, each happens to be black. Kids are kids and kids scream when they're happy or unhappy, a natural thing. But when these kids talk like the boyfriends, expletives included and ghetto rap or whatever it is is blasting from the speakers, this becomes a stain on an otherwise very diverse, well-kept quiet neighborhood. We neighbors all know each other, socialize...and we're talking black and white, gay and conservative Baptist and all points in between. But a line has been drawn and I'm crossing it. So, while the couple was there I got a call from Miami from a buddy who, with his wife, had just returned stateside from playing with the lizards and turtles in the Gal. Islands...yes, I'm jealous. Anyway, my point. I took the irony of seeing the owner couple for the first time in two years and the call from my friend quite seriously. He and a buyers investment group from Owen MBA are looking for houses in Inglewood and expressed interest in the house next to me.

So, in my neighborly best, I have a potential meeting set up and could possibly coreograph my neighborhood more to my liking in the near future.

I'm all for fairness and the twinkle in the eye of the owners seemed to make the house fair game. I know this really has little to do with public housing, but what is next to me is as close as I ever want to get.

And sleepy's right, most of the people living in public housing do want to get out and better themselves and they should be give the chance to do so. If not, then to hell with them. They can get up and go to work like do every day. Okay, nuf of that.

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Public housing should be completely eliminated. It's terrible for crime, terrible for land value, and most of all, it does nothing for its residents.

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Public housing should be completely eliminated. It's terrible for crime, terrible for land value, and most of all, it does nothing for its residents.

Except, of course, that it gives people somewhere to live. If public housing is just eliminated do you think crime would just disappear? Where would these people go?

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Except, of course, that it gives people somewhere to live. If public housing is just eliminated do you think crime would just disappear? Where would these people go?

This is quite a loaded question!

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Where would these people go?

Not my problem.

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Several of the responses assume that the number of people in public housing has to remain constant. The "where will they go?" question. Since Clinton's 1996 welfare reform law, we have had a 60% reduction in the welfare roles nationally, and a reduction in the child poverty rates. Why can't we do the same thing for public housing? Remember that before the 1990's welfare was considered simply a fact of life, that there was nothing anyone could do. Several pundits and politicians said that welfare reform, and its time limits on benefits, would lead to third-world like child poverty. They were wrong. Thinking that there is nothing we can do now to lessen the dependency on government housing is also wrong.

The key questions need to be what are the benefits of public housing and what are the costs (including the costs of decreased land values and underdevelopment compared to what would be the case with market rate housing). How can we increase the benefits and lower the costs? These are factual questions. Welfare reform gave us some relevant data: time limits and work requirements are effective. Combine these ideas with accounting for the true costs of public housing and you're starting to get somewhere.

Anyone from MDHA on the forum?

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Not my problem.

i wouldn't say that. while more of the people in public housing are hardworking people, there are some that try to take the easy way out. if these people are all of a sudden made homeless, they are going to be looking for a quick buck to get a roof over there head. if this means breaking into your house and stealing your stuff, then so be it. so we can't just throw them all out on the street, we actually have to take the time to help them. and then if they don't accept our help, then it's on them. at least we can say we tried.

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