Anybody who reads and references Ed Goetz’s wonderful work is all good by me, but this is the first bit I’ve read from Jake Blumgart, and I’m happy to note it’s a well-written and well-reasoned piece on public housing. In the United States! By a US writer! Go read it here.
One of the money quotes:
Because Congress gave sweeping discretionary authority to locals, political machines controlled the staffing of the housing authorities. Thus staff and management positions were transformed into so many patronage appointments. This became an even greater problem as many housing authorities began to exclusively serve deeply impoverished and unemployed populations. Such a task is difficult even for committed public servants of a well-oiled bureaucracy. But that is most emphatically not who was running most U.S. housing authorities. Goetz notes that “public housing was the backwater of local public administration in many cities.”
That’s putting it nicely. Public housing offices because a den of unconscionable thieves stealing from poor people–stories with police reports that would curl your hair in fury, including some horrible scandals in the city Blumgart currently calls home–Philly.