Section 8 Housing Is the Real Problem

RECEIVED Fri., June 29, 2012

Dear Editor,
    After reading "There Goes the Neighborhood" [News, June 22] and a companion piece in the Statesman, all one has to do is substitute "Section 8 housing" for "short-term rentals
   " and you come up with one of Austin's dirty little secrets.
    Laura Morrison is quoted as saying that "you need people living there, not just people passing through.” However, that's exactly what comprises a number of Section 8 homes. All the sins attributed to STRs have a much greater chance of being realized by Section 8 residents, including everything from a total deterioration of the structure and property, graffiti, and criminal elements frequenting these neighborhoods at all hours. I recently attended a police community meeting, and in speaking with others I discovered that many area neighborhoods are experiencing the same problems and difficulties with these units.
    The dark side is that it seems as if every facet of city and county government supports this seeding of Section 8 housing in middle class neighborhoods, without regard to the resulting degradation to the quality of life that originally attracted people to make a home in these locales. It would be interesting to see the Chronicle do an investigative story of how Section 8 housing policy can bring about neighborhood blight and decay. This philosophy places the well-being of Section 8 recipients over the rights of taxpaying, long-established homeowners whose hard work and commitment made their neighborhoods a desirable and livable oasis in the heart of Austin.
    I would prefer having an STR to a Section 8 neighbor any time.
Richard Salinas
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