June 15, 2008

Section 8 housing vouchers a help or a hurt?

I know there's been a concern in the community about whether Section 8 housing vouchers have undermined sections of the city. A story in the new Atlantic Monthly provides some new information that lends credence to that idea.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Who monitors them?

Anonymous said...

Who monitors what?

Odin said...

He means the tenants. He thinks they should be monitored, like in some police state. Their crime: being low income.

Odin said...

He means the tenants, like in some police state. Their crime: being low income.

Anonymous said...

New section 8 vouchers in CT are almost impossible to get. I've been on the list for over a year.

Anonymous said...

The awarding of and use of Vouchers.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that Section 8 pays more than most working families can afford on their own.

So Section 8 perpetuates the welfare state and slumlords. Section 8 encourages landlords to raise their rents in accordance to what the state pays out. Slumlords make more money renting to Section 8.

Section 8 is bad for Bristol in many cases.

Bob Merrick said...

Interesting article. This type of action has been seen in Connecticut over the past 20 years as cities like Hartford tore down their housing projects and nearby suburbs like Bloomfield, Wethersfield, West Hartford, Windsor, East Hartford, and Manchester saw dramatic increases in crime, gang activity, drugs, and educational problems.

Bristol weathered the storm in the past because it was somewhat isolated and lacked the public transit and other infrastructure elements that people who lived in the former housing complexes were used to.

This is one of the reasons why the West End and downtown are now seeing a higher level of poverty concentration now since people can't move around.

Bristol must think carefully before making changes to eradicate concentrated areas of poverty. When Union street was revitalized the problems that formerly were contained there spread throughout the city.

Many people have said that they should bulldoze Davis Drive. As the information in the Atlantic Monthly article this type of thinking may cause more problems than it solves. Malcolm Gladwell had also illustrated similar examples in his best seller "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference."

This is a complex problem that requires communities starting to have candid and honest discussions in seeking a solution. Neighborhood groups are a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean the tenants.

I mean who awards the vouchers and who follows up to see that all the requirements are met.

Can anybody, will anybody, answer???


Anonymous said...

Bristol isn't "isolated". It's just not as close to Hartford as East Hartford is. The notion that East Hartford was some kind of affluent white sub-urb before they tore a few projects down in Hartford and the blacks and Puerto Ricans came invading like a nomadic hoard is a myth. East Hartford was a dump 25 years ago just as it is now.

It might be true to say that many of the prople that lived on Union Street now live in the west end corner. Does that mean we should try and keep Bristol segregated by encouraging these housing projects? Actually even with the supposed Puerto Rican element in the west end, it still looks just as good as it did 15 years ago.

If they did tear down Davis Drive some of the people there not originally from Bristol may move back to where (the ghetto) they came from. Some may get Section 8 vouchers and would come to the mult-familty dwellings in the older sections in town. I don't see this as a very "complex" problem. And how can "neighborhood groups" do much except try and influence the people in the Legislature who are making these decisions?

I think that the proponents of tearing down Davis Drive are usually if not always the same ones that are against granting Section 8 vouchers as well.

Anonymous said...

It's a good concept for those that need the assistance but not for those that take advantage of the system and then don't take care of what they have been given.

I have a close friend that will be applying for section 8 - 2 time war veteran and POW. He takes great care of his current home and yard and works hard in a part time job. He is also a tireless volunteer throughout the community.

He can't afford where he lives now that everything costs more and recently became a widower. He has a very limited income.

If he doesn't get accepted, I know that there is a serious problem with the system.

Anonymous said...

June 15, 2008 4:22 PM:

If these people are living off the tax-payer dole with the excuse that they need money to raise their kids, I don't see anything wrong with the state checking up on them to makes sure they're living decently. Of course that would cost even more money.

These Section 8 people are not all bad. As a matter of fact some of them just want to get away from noise and problems associated with the projects. The projects are a breeding gound for bad behavior. I remeber a "section 8" lady who wanted to rent from me telling me she just wanted to get away from the noise from Sporty's bar.

Since Davis Drive is already in Bristol how would "tearing it down" effect the schools (since these kids already are enrolled there)? Perhaps these people will disperse to New Britain, Farmington, Wolcott, Burlington or even back to Hartford or East Hartford?

Anonymous said...

After reading this blog, It's amazing how ill informed these people in all aspect of the program. Perhaps one should get more enlighten before elaborating .

Anonymous said...

June 16, 2008 11:57 AM:

How does one "get more enlighten"?

Perhaps you should take some courses to improve your English skills?

Anonymous said...

To be eligible for Section 8, an apartment has to meet a higher housing code standard than a "market" apartment. The agency that issues the certificate is responsible for inspecting these apartments. The Bristol Housing Authority has some of them, and someone in Torrington is responsible for (I think) the rest of them. The BHA does have their staff do inspections sometimes, but I don't think the Torrington guy inspects the units that he is responsible for. A landlord who repeatedly fails inspections can have his right to participate in the program yanked.

Anonymous said...

June 16, 2008 12:15 PM:

You neglected to state that the landlord gets state funds towards the maintenence of such living facilities if the place is damaged by the tenants.

You also fail to address my main concern. That is by the state aloting so much for a Section 8 (up to $2000 per month) they price the working people out of the market. People are better off on Section 8 than working for a living place. Such examples are typical of the welfare state.

Anonymous said...

I didn't "neglect" or "fail" to do anything. I made a few simple statements about the Section 8 program. You want to change the system, get off your fat *** and contact your congressman.

Anonymous said...

June 16, 2008 1:35 PM:

You not only neglected and failed to address my points, you neglected to show any class and failed at being civil.

Anonymous said...

Do you clowns know that many people on Section 8 in Bristol are ages 62 and over?????

Anonymous said...

It's fascinating that so few of those commenting seem to have read the story Steve pointed out. I know it's a lot of material for some of you, but take your time and you can do it despite that Bristol education you probably received.

Anonymous said...

Just think, someday the middle class will be in line for section 8 voucher. Davis drive llks preetty nice form the road, look around at some of the dumps own by people not renters in Bristol. Being poor is not a a choice.

Anonymous said...

I think the mayor is in charge of Section 8 vouchers

Anonymous said...

The State is in charge of Section 8 vochers and to everyone that is against section 8..Remember we have a very large population that is going to retire soon, how do you think those retires will be able to live...Thats right with section 8 or low income housing. Also, do your homework and see how many peple that are over 62 are on section 8 - you might be surprised.

Anonymous said...

The state makes decisions locally????

Lets talk to Frank Nicastro about that!!

Anonymous said...

Who at the state?
What Agency?
Who do we write to or call?

Mrs. P said...

You know, I must say that I took offense to the tone of the article presented. Not all Section 8 families are a bunch of criminals, out looking to score at the expense of the community.
We have a Section 8 voucher and are currently trying like hell to get out of Shawn Dr. It's getting just as bad as Davis Dr. over here. Most landlords won't even give us the time of day when they hear we have a voucher, or when they hear where we are trying to move from. Having a Section 8 is not all a bed of roses.
My husband works hard, usually 50+ hours a week to provide for our 2 kids and myself. We're an honest, Christian family, just trying to do right by our kids. Frankly, we hope to be able to get off of government assistance (which Section 8 is a part of) sometime within the next year. Getting off "the dole" and doing so in a way that will ensure financial stability is not easy. Our welfare system is designed to make it difficult, in my humble opinion.
I will agree that unfortunately, with the way the Section 8 program is designed, the most needy, the most "deserving" of people and families rarely get the vouchers. The waiting lists are notoriously long, and are often closed for years at a time.
If a community wants to eliminate poverty, (and this next part is directed at Bristol) it really needs to pull it's collective head out of the rear of it's high horse. Being poor is much more than a simple problem of lack of jobs or what-have-you. Often, it's a problem of generational notions. One generation sat on the welfare line, and so their children assume they must do the same. Poverty requires a multi-phase attack to be destroyed, or at least minimized.
Just my coupla cents though. After all, what do I know? I'm just a poor person.

Steve Collins said...

To the person who keeps wanting to mention specific names of someone they think has a section 8 voucher - I don't know if what you are writing is true and, particularly because of your tone and language, I won't post the name. It's irrelevant and appears aimed at smearing someone.
Also, you should know that I am trying not to allow any anonymous poster to slam another anonymous poster by name. I have no idea if you're right or not, but I'm not going to let people start guessing who's posting what and then attack someone on that basis.

Anonymous said...

I was on Section 8 for 15 years. I always wanted to become self-sufficient. The housing authority had programs to assist. When i called and left messages no one called back. When i asked i was told no such program exist. The next year i was told it did. When i started working, the section 8 workers started harassing me. Sending me letters two to three times in a year to come in for a yearly review. They asked me to bring my daughter in. I did. They made us sit in the office from 11:30am-5:30pm. When the supervisor came out, she talked to me like crap. All this started after i started working and bought a new car. Then the problems with the landlord. The housing authority do not help, they only hinder. Jealous tenants call on you for nothing. Even the landlord was jealous of me working. If you are poor, drugged, committing crime you will get along well, with section 8, the landlords, and the tenants. If not look for persistent problems. I was able to become on my own, self-sufficient. Over 80% of the tenants are lazy, using drugs, or boyfriends that are.

Anonymous said...

I total agree with what was said most of the tenants that lives in section 8 housing are lazy due to drug use and having children one after another so they can receive more foodstamps and dont have to work. I see this all the time people taking advantage of the system they move in next thing you know Baby Daddy knocking at the door i personally think if they wolud do an anually drug test or show up unexpected things would eventually change. For the ones that is trying to make it by working going back to school just keep putting one foot in front of the other and sooner or later you will achieve.