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Section 8 is Worth Fighting For
African-American community, Section 8 has been a very important way
to help people pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I myself can
be a witness to this. I live in a HUD-subsidized Section 8 housing
project and if there is one thing I have learned from living here,
it is that the benefits of Section 8 housing go far beyond just
paying cheap rent.
The 57-unit project
that I live in has been in existence for 27 years. How do I know?
Because I moved into my unit when I was nine months pregnant and
gave birth to my son the very next day. So, my son and the project
are the same age -- only one day apart. And did you know that there
is a HUD Section 8-based project just like this one in every city
and town in America? All built in 1979. Thank you, Jimmy Carter! But
In the last 27
years that I have lived here, I have watched my African-American
neighbors put the money they have saved on rent to very good use.
Sure, some of them have used this opportunity to run up credit card
debt or purchase a brand new Lincoln Navigator but for the most part
they have used this opportunity wisely. They have used Section 8 as
a springboard to send their children to college.
Because of Section
8 and HUD and Jimmy Carter, there are now at least 30 more
African-American college graduates today that I personally know of
than there would have been without Section 8.
As I write this,
I'm looking back in my mind's eye, thinking about the 57 families
who moved in here back in 1979. Many of us were on welfare. Some of
us were on drugs. A couple of prostitutes, a handful of working
single mothers desperately struggling to hold things together.
Grandparents raising their abandoned grandkids. Battered women
running away from brutal spouses. Some homeless types. Redneck meth
freaks. We were a sorry lot.
But slowly, surely,
all of us started to relax and unwind. With a decent roof over our
heads, we began to recover. And to focus. Now three out of four of
my children are college graduates. Of the five families who are my
immediate neighbors, we have nine college graduates, including one
PhD and a girl who lived her dream -- graduating from UCLA with a
degree in dance and going on to dance on Broadway in the cast of The
Lately, neo-cons in
Washington have been systematically attacking HUD-subsidized Section
8 housing programs. "It's just more welfare," they say. "It's just
giving our hard-earned money to a bunch of lazy slackers." No. The
war-profiteering that is going in in Iraq is "just more welfare".
Unlike our tax money that has been "invested" in war profiteering,
tax money invested in Section 8 housing, like tax money invested in
education and healthcare, is an investment in America's future and
the future of our children and grandchildren -- African-American and
African-Americans, Section 8 housing is an especially important
issue -- an issue well worth fighting for.
Reprinted from Black Commentator