Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Work or get out

One of the biggest bombshells post-Katrina was the announcement by Oliver Thomas that public housing residents should get jobs or stay out.

At a meeting of the council's Housing Committee, City Council President Oliver Thomas said that for too long government programs and agencies have "pampered" rather than improved lives. Consequently, former residents who don't want "to roll up their sleeves" are better off staying away, he said in remarks that generated murmured agreement from some members of the audience in the council chambers.

"We don't need soap opera watchers right now," Thomas said. "We're going to target the people who are going to work. It's not that I'm fed up, but that at some point there has to be a whole new level of motivation, and people have got to stop blaming the government for something they ought to do."

He could have been a little more diplomatic in expressing his sentiment than to smear all public housing residents as "soap opera watchers." A great number of them do work. Still, I'm all for it. It's common sense, but there will be consequences for those who can't work. And what about child supervision while parents are working? What about skills deficits that create the need for public housing in the first place? Those problems don't go away just by talking tough.

As I've said elsewhere, the very dire problems coming out of the black community can't be solved by whites (a large segment of the black community doesn't listen to the white community) -- they have to be solved by blacks themselves. Thomas' statement, crude though it was, is a move in the right direction.


At 2/22/2006 05:52:00 PM, Anonymous Polimom said...

It is likely to be badly received, however-much it's the right direction.

You said:
"What about skills deficits that create the need for public housing in the first place?"

I'm hoping Houston (where so many folks came, and still remain) will be able to help close some of those gaps, though it's probably wishful thinking. Houston does, however, have a powerful economy and an enormous job market - even for the un/under-skilled.

Here's hoping it all comes together in a way people can accept, and from which they can gain.

At 2/25/2006 05:26:00 PM, Anonymous humidhaney said...

This has stirred a good sicussion on humid beings.

At 2/26/2006 09:11:00 AM, Blogger BadTux said...

My question is this: how many people in NOLA public housing weren't working in the first place? I have no experience with NOLA public housing, but I know that in other places in Louisiana that I've lived, most people who live in public housing either a) work, b) are elderly, or c) are disabled. I.e., public housing is now used to house those who work (generally minimum wage jobs) but make too little money to afford housing on the open market. Something to do with some 1996 welfare reform law. NOLA got themselves an exemption to that law somehow?!



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