It was far from a slow news day today. But it can wait. I've chosen to pull these comments from the posting on The Reader. It warrants our full attention. North of Howard has been the study since this blog's inception. Long time residents share their stories, as the disadvantaged tell their version of life here. The discomforting reality is they are on-going versions of 1985, 1995 into 2005. The tired mantra of 'how it used to be' angers me. To hear a group of agitators stand in a meeting demanding jobs will anger me until there is change.
The perpetrators of this high concentration of poverty apparently are more concerned with continuance of their paychecks than creating positive change. To hop into the spotlight is mere drama. Agitators are good at high drama but not so talented on planning a profitable economy. They seldom have solutions but offer myriad demands. Have they offered real economic solutions here? Have they offered a real job plan here? Have they offered a real solution to crime here?
The agitators want this pocket to remain low income, yet expect someone to provide jobs with no economic base. The agitators want the police to be their private patrols. The agitators are not seeking balance. They need to look to the managers/owners of the many problem buildings and work from there.
Felons have a difficult time finding a job right? Under-educated people have a difficult time finding a job right? And last, but not least, vacant storefronts and empty malls don't provide any jobs do they? Why pound the pavement job hunting if one is not qualified? So if we're all in the same place, if we're all under priveleged (sometimes by choice) how are we getting on to the next level? We're not, we're being contained and maintained by the perpetrators and agitators. We're learning how to make unrealistic demands, to be the human instruments of the agitators. These people make gangs look pretty organized in comparison.
The world progressed while NOH was held hostage to the vision without a plan. And it's not comforting to know it's still happening elsewhere in this country. We're spinning out of control and the creators of our problems are still clinging to what has never really worked.
It's time to open dialogue on what has not been working here and elsewhere.
Hurricane Katrina is focusing renewed attention on concentrated poverty.
A Study in Poverty
By JULIANA BARBASSA, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 12, 2005
The Short Version
Many of the country's most disadvantaged minority households are trapped in pockets of concentrated urban poverty, preventing them from getting the educations and jobs that would enable them to rise above the poverty line. ...
Poor planning over decades has concentrated public housing at the core of cities around the nation, while new developments, jobs and schools mushroomed in the suburbs, beyond the reach of low-income households, dee
pening the divide between the haves and the have-nots, the study said.
Confronting Concentrated Poverty Across America
by Alan Berube and Bruce Katz
The Short Version
# Areas of concentrated poverty are not confined to New Orleans. Despite improvements in the 1990s, nearly every major American city still contains a collection of extremely poor, racially segregated neighborhoods. In cities as diverse as Cleveland, New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, more than 30 percent of poor blacks live in areas of severe social and economic distress.
# These neighborhoods did not appear by accident. They emerged in part due to decades of policies that confined poor households, especially poor black ones, to these economically isolated areas. The federal government concentrated public housing in segregated inner-city neighborhoods, subsidized metropolitan sprawl, and failed to create affordable housing for low-income families and minorities in rapidly developing suburbs, cutting them off from decent housing, educational, and economic opportunities.
# A large body of research has demonstrated that concentrated poverty exacts multiple costs on individuals and society. These costs come in the form of: reduced private-sector investment and local job opportunities; increased prices for the poor; higher levels of crime; negative impacts on mental and physical health; low-quality neighborhood schools; and heavy burdens on local governments that induce out-migration of middle-class households. Together, these factors combine to limit the life chances and quality of life available to residents of high-poverty neighborhoods.
The Brookings Institute report counted extreme poverty neighborhoods, defined as census tracts in which at least 40 percent of the population lives in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold. Chicago ranked 2nd (with 110), behind only New York (with 248).