Time to take poverty and low-income issues seriously in Fayetteville - at long last? | Street Jazz

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time to take poverty and low-income issues seriously in Fayetteville - at long last?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 9:55 AM

I’ve been talking to a number of people lately, both candidates and ordinary folk, about housing issues in Fayetteville. It’s still sort of disconcerting to me that so many people have no idea how many people live in conditions of absolute poverty here, in the New York City of the Ozarks.

The fact that people still get evicted on a regular basis to make room for iffy developments  should be of concern to all of us. One woman left a post on my blog in the past week explaining that in one trailer park, when they had 30 days to move out, folks who had been paying the park to buy their trailers lost everything they had put in, if they had no place to move the trailer to.

This is abominable.

What about the residents in the trailer park moved out so that construction could begin near WRMC over a year ago? It’s all still flat. Villa Mobile Home Park - residents evicted, and now the field has a few houses but is largely overgrown with weeds.

What about trailer parks where people pay rent by the week, and the now-infamous park which had open sewage lines, and folks complaining of excrement in the areas where their children played?

We decry the Hanna years, but the ugly truth is that more working families may have lost their homes during the Coody years by the eviction/development process than ever before.

Quite an achievement, Dan. Don’t forget to put that on your campaign flyers.

Maybe it’s time to have a sort of special City Commission, made up of folks who have some experience with poverty and working class issues, one that would investigate these stories, and interview people affected by these developments. A commission that would be televised on the Government Channel, so that we couldn’t ignore the issue any longer.

I envision a commission that would have the authority to make a report and recommendations to the  city council. And who would I like to see on the commission?

Off-hand, I’d suggest folks like Rachel Townsend of the Worker’s Justice center, Paula Marinoni (one of the few candidates for mayor who ever spoke about renters’ rights), representatives from homeless shelters, unions, and renters’ associations from around the state - and that’s just off the top of my head.

I’d make special efforts to include working class folk.

And, just as important as to who is on the commission, it is important as  to who would not be on the commission:

No developers allowed.

No doubt mayor would begin crying at this point about how much good developers have done the city - like the big-ass hole in the ground near the square - but they are the some of the biggest  reasons such a commission is necessary in the first place.

******
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rsdrake@nwark.com

 

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