Saturday, March 15, 2008

Broad Creek Turning Point

As a Virginia Beach resident I shouldn't be constantly commenting on Norfolk affairs, but this story - like light rail - has regional implications. Norfolk, faced with potentially losing Federal money for the slow construction of Broad Creek, is looking to downsize the project. Predictably, it's by dropping low-income units.

The big picture here goes to the question, "Where and how are Hampton Roads' low-income residents going to live?" A statement I read in late 2006 sticks with me: the cities in the region seem to be in a competition as to who can eliminate more services for the poor, trying to dump their poor on their neighboring cities. The powers that be are going to have to come to the grips that they have to live somewhere, and will require some basic services.

That brings me back to Broad Creek. Two low-income housing developments were bulldozed to make room for it. The higher-end units there aren't selling. The region has an acute shortage of low-income units. So Norfolk responds by...wanting to eliminate low-income units? Excuse me, NR&HA, do you have a friggin' clue?!?

Board member Ulysses Turner is absolutely correct: Broad Creek should be completed according to the original plan. Those low-income units are in everyone's best interest.

Getting back home, it's time Virginia Beach seriously looked at tackling the shortage of rental units for the low-income. Given that a R&HA isn't going to happen here, we need a realistic strategy for getting them built.

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