Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.

FIGHT THE STIGMA!

FIGHT THE STIGMA!
Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

"I HATE SECTION 8"


I suggest anyone who is new to the "I Hate Section 8" page of this website read the following article before moving on to the introduction and other articles:


"Section 8:  Whether to Move Out"  Series 

Former public housing residents are moving into middle-class neighborhoods by the thousands as foreclosed homes are being rented out to Section 8 tenants through the housing voucher program.  The neighborhoods they are moving into are quickly experiencing a dramatic rise in crime.  Most people think there is nothing they can do about it except buy a home somewhere else, but that option is slowly disappearing in this economic downturn as many middle-class homeowners are struggling just to get by.  This series offers real life examples and helpful advice on how neighborhoods can prevent Section 8 trouble before it starts so good neighbors don’t have to move out.  

Topics within the series include how to garner support when a bad Section 8 neighbor causes trouble on your block, how to avoid accusations of bigotry that could lead to a lawsuit, how to convince neighborhood organizations to adopt a Section 8 strategy, which strategies work, HUD’s best kept secret and how to put pressure on politicians regarding Section 8.
   










"Section 8 Blight - The Cure" Series 

Section 8 is a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program whereby low-income people who qualify can receive vouchers that pay all or a portion of their rent.  After the government mandated that severely distressed public housing developments like Liddonfield Homes in northeast Philadelphia be demolished under the HOPE VI program, it issued them to the former public housing tenants so they can live anywhere they like, so long as a landlord will accept the vouchers.

What about individual Section 8 tenants who move into a neighborhood and then cause trouble?  This is a problem that often becomes an unnecessary nightmare as it involves the housing authority, a government entity that routinely turns a blind eye to this issue, allowing its problem tenants to have power over neighborhoods.  Housing and Urban Development, which mandates programs such as HOPE VI and Section 8, has no accountability for the decimation these programs unleash upon healthy communities.  The Philadelphia housing authority is among the worst in the nation.  Short-staffed, under-funded and beleaguered by scandal, its internal problems are so overwhelming that you can hardly expect it to deal with yours.

The unfortunate homeowners who live near a troublesome Section 8 tenant invariably call their local housing authority numerous times with their complaints, to absolutely no avail.  So, they turn to the police, who may offer a temporary fix.  For instance, the Section 8 tenant who blasts their stereo late at night might turn it down after the police arrive, but will start up again the next evening.  From children we are raised to believe that those in authority have the power to solve our problem if we are in the right.  That is not always the case.  Authority is not omnipotence.  It is limited and parceled out to different entities, which can lead you into a mind-boggling labyrinth of beaurocratic red tape that can drive you out of the neighborhood or drive you mad.  

While you’re putting forth all your efforts into the wrong places and becoming exhausted from the stress, the problem Section 8 tenant is cruising along, impervious.  You resent his power over you and your neighborhood, but that’s an illusion.  Poor people are the most powerless beings on Earth, but they possess remarkable resilience.  Good Section 8 tenants make great neighbors.  They don’t expect much and rarely complain.  But bad ones will use their resilience against you.  Don't try to confront them yourself.  Play tit-for-tat with them and they can withstand your slings and arrows with ease.  It has been proven scientifically that poor people have a high tolerance for discomfort.  This is because most of them were born into poverty and have thus built up defenses against harsh and stressful conditions.  A middle-class person who is used to a comfortable lifestyle cannot possibly compete by trying to make life uncomfortable for the problem Section 8 tenant.  

They are also used to dealing with government agencies and know the in’s and out’s far better than you.  There may be a housing authority rule against certain behavior, but if they know a rule is seldom enforced, for instance, or they know a way around the rule, then they won’t lose any sleep over the fact that you’ve reported it.  On the other hand, you mistakenly believe something will be done about it because that conforms to your existing belief system.  When you discover your efforts were wasted, the stress and frustration begin to pile up and overload you with a burden you can't put down. 

When it comes to low-income people, middle-class folks believe a lot of things that simply aren’t true and that is why they often become stuck on a hellish merry-go-round of frustration, fear and a mistaken sense of powerlessness when a bad Section 8 tenant comes to their neighborhood.  It is tempting when you encounter one to characterize all Section 8 recipients as “lazy scumbags” etc. and write them off.  This is not wise.  Good Section 8 tenants can be quite useful allies because they know what it is like to be poor and they know how the bad ones operate.  They have had to live side-by-side with them for years, dislike them as much as you do and know all the stumbling blocks when complaining to the housing authority. 

When it comes to problem Section 8 tenants, you will be stuck on that hellish merry-go-round unless you are willing to set aside your firmly held beliefs.  This brings us back to the introductory article I wrote on the subject entitled, Your Beliefs About the Poor May Cause the Ruin of Your Neighborhood.

If you have always been middle-class, prepare to be shocked and have your feelings hurt when you read it.  It’s not meant to spare your feelings, but to wake you up from the deep sleep you are in.  Be mad if that makes you feel better after you’ve read it, but then let it simmer in your mind a while.  When you’ve calmed down, read each of the Section 8 articles that follow and eventually you’ll begin to see how this advice is to your advantage.  Below are links to these articles.  There are more articles to come, so check for new ones on Mondays, when I post.  I also post later in the week sometimes if I can, so you will want to visit this website several times a week.    


Your Beliefs About the Poor May Cause the Ruin of Your Neighborhood.

Section 8 and Why You're Not a Role Model 

What Community Groups Do Wrong When it Comes to Section 8

Businesses Can Save Neighborhoods From Section 8 Blight

The Basics of Setting Up a Section 8 Anti-blight Reward System

11 comments:

  1. Section 8 ha ha! Why do section 8 houses have fancy cars in front of them ? ? ?

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  5. I hate it! I hate it so much T_T I'm looking for an apt to rent and the moment I see "Section 8 Welcomed" on the posting I leave the page.

    I live in an area currently where Section 8 has become very popular over the past decade. It began after the housing project Cabrini Green was closed down. I'm now looking for a new place to live and I never again wan't live in a situation like this but it seems more and more landlords are accepting Section 8 these days.

    Whenever I bring up this conversation to some of my friends(whom happen to live outside of my neighborhood) they say to me "Well at least they now have a chance to better themselves".. It's bullshit! I haven't seen any improvements since they began shuffling into this neighborhood. In fact it's gone downhill! This wasn't the greatest neighbor to begin with but since Cabrini Green shut down gang activity has increased tremendously, murder rates, theft. It's so bad.

    I think it's time for me to just buy a farm with 1,000 acres of land.

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  6. I hate it! I hate it so much T_T I'm looking for an apt to rent and the moment I see "Section 8 Welcomed" on the posting I leave the page.

    I live in an area currently where Section 8 has become very popular over the past decade. It began after the housing project Cabrini Green was closed down. I'm now looking for a new place to live and I never again wan't live in a situation like this but it seems more and more landlords are accepting Section 8 these days.

    Whenever I bring up this conversation to some of my friends(whom happen to live outside of my neighborhood) they say to me "Well at least they now have a chance to better themselves".. It's bullshit! I haven't seen any improvements since they began shuffling into this neighborhood. In fact it's gone downhill! This wasn't the greatest neighbor to begin with but since Cabrini Green shut down gang activity has increased tremendously, murder rates, theft. It's so bad.

    I think it's time for me to just buy a farm with 1,000 acres of land.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The landlord credit history look at is often a instrument employed by landlords in order to measure the volume of in addition to the sort of danger a likely renter can be. The foundation can be which prior credit history connected deals of any pure or even juridical man or women could possibly decide somewhat the probability of a renter defaulting or even paying out this book by the due date and also fully.
    landlord credit check

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  10. These Lowlifes with their fancy cars because of Section 8 as well as WIC and Welfare live a Heck of a lot better than those of us who own and have sweat blood sweat and tears to OWN a home and then get these arrogant Rude Section 8 Renters who come in and move in 6 adults and 1 0 kids!

    ReplyDelete

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