Vouchers for evicted section eight tenants not a fair trade

10/06/05

An article published in the recent issue of WorkingUSA, The Journal of Labor and Society explores the relationships between labor, community, affordable housing, and federal practices by focusing on a housing cooperative in New Haven, Conn. The Trade Union Plaza (TUP) was a nonprofit, labor-sponsored alternative to conventional public housing. More than thirty-five years ago, it began as a home to single Black mothers and active union members and has housed families for generations. Once described as an urban residential space "for working people by working people," the TUP is currently being transformed by the new owner into luxury homes called "University Village." Author Mandi Isaacs Jackson writes of the TUP in context of the myth of the "urban trade." Jackson challenges the notion that solutions to the crisis in affordable housing are unrelated to considerations of geography, design, and community, and that individual vouchers, available to income tenants are somehow equivalent in value to the homes and communities they replace."

According to Jackson, housing policies of the 1960s were successful as they combined the culture of organizing, union jobs, family design, and site-based public subsidy. With the building no longer being subsidized, many of the original tenants were given section eight vouchers and moved out. Some have had to leave the city, moving farther from their jobs and public transportation. Still they are fighting to keep their community alive. "Labor alliances across racial and ethnic lines created Trade Union Plaza nearly forty years ago, and labor and community alliances work today to save the development's project-based subsidy, the only thing that will keep the tenant population… truly mixed, truly accessible to all regardless of race and income," Jackson concludes.

WorkingUSA, The Journal of Labor and Society is an important forum for new ideas on the work experience. Addressing the range of concerns of working people, the journal covers workers both employed and unemployed, union and non-union, both in the marketplace and at home.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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