Special Letter to the Editor: Housing project unsatisfactory

Special Letter to the Editor: Housing project unsatisfactory


Dear Editor:

I find it unbelievable that no one has commented on how badly the Jane Addams Village housing project-and public housing in general—has failed.

They (HUD—or Housing Under Dictatorship, as I call it) are proposing that steel and concrete buildings that aren’t even 35 years old should be torn down and replaced with some ridiculous series of houses that probably can’t house half as many people as the buildings already here—and they’re going to spend $40 million of taxpayer money doing it.

First, let’s go over some things. I was one of the first people to live in the Jane Addams Village housing project. I lived there for 32 years until July 9, 2001, when I was thrown out on the street like a dog.

The project was built out of nothing but defective junk—doors that stuck, windows that wouldn’t open, basements that leaked, pipes that broke and almost flooded whole rooms, furnaces that went out in Arctic winters and weren’t fixed for over a week at a time in some cases, and so many other things that I’d have to write an encyclopedia to tell about all of it. It shouldn’t have been called housing; it should have been called plywood and plaster shacks that were filled with defective junk.

The maintenance was just as bad. It took a week to fix things in some cases, and then everything broke almost after they had done it.

Worst of all was the crime and violence. These places are overrun with drug addicts, pimps, prostitutes, arsonists, thieves and hoodlums of every type you can possibly imagine. No landlord in their right mind would possibly rent to over half of these people, but the housing authority does.

In the years I lived there, my home was almost burned down on three separate occasions. I had people shoot bullet holes into my house, pull knives on me, shoot me through the leg with an air rifle, steal from me, and shoot me in the head with a BB gun.

The housing authority knew all about these things and did nothing about it.

I wrote so-called conservatives like The National Review, Rush Limbaugh, the American Conservative Union, and asked them to print letters about this, and they did nothing about it.

I wrote to HUD about all this, and not only did they do nothing about it, they actually gave the housing authority an award.

The housing authority knew all about the fact that the people in the projects threatened and drove away people who came to help me clean my house.

As for the Summit Green housing project I’ve been relocated in—it has been every bit as bad, if not worse than Jane Addams was. I’ve seen people throw whiskey and other alcohol bottles all over the place, vomit in the elevator and make all sorts of threats against me.

On the night of June 8, 2002, a man broke into a Pepsi machine not more than 30 feet from where I was sitting. I drove him off and had to call the police that night. This was the second time that happened in less than a month. I’ve had all sorts of harassment done to me ever since this happened, and the housing authority knew about this and has done nothing about it.

They call this new plan to rebuild Jane Addams, New Hope VI. Well, it should be called No Hope VI and no intelligence along with it.

If these people outside the housing authority and some of the “humane and democratic” liberals who are supporting all this public housing in general were concerned about people, they’d be talking about how the old, the sick, the blind and disabled and low-income working people are pushed into these places.

Isn’t it interesting that the very people in our society that should be the most taken care of and protected are pushed off against a motley collection of drug addicts, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, thieves, arsonists and hoodlums of every sort, and no one does or says anything about it.

Donald Hartman

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