We’ve been critical of a lot of things about the HOPE VI housing project over the years—especially its $280,000 per unit pricetag. We just can’t wrap our heads around the notion that our government is giving away housing to people for free that cost us, as taxpayers, a helluva lot more than Hobbes Manor, that we paid for ourselves. We mean, why do we even bother working day in and day out? (In fairness, we had the same reaction last night in Wegman’s watching a woman pay for all the fixings for a sundae bar with chocolate, strawberry, caramel, and some other kind of syrup using a benefit card, but we digress.)
Now that we read in today’s Buffalo News what’s involved in those units, though, we’re even more annoyed:
“It’s going to be a lovely neighborhood. It’s going to grow. They are coming tomorrow to hook up the telephones. And we have two full bathrooms — and one of them is downstairs,” gushed Neziezadie Brown as she relaxed in the afternoon sunshine on the spacious front porch of her new apartment at 1350 Garden Ave.
“Look how big this porch is. We’ll have lights all over the porch for Christmas, and everybody else will have them too,” Brown said as she looked ahead to the changing seasons in the new Hope VI community being created by the Niagara Falls Housing Authority.
Ah, yes, big porches and two bathrooms per unit. Hobbes Manor only has 1 ½ baths, and we’re rather fond of the place.
More obnoxious was this quote from Richard Higgins, the “developer” who made big bucks building welfare housing in the Falls:
“Yes, America, stimulus funds are producing and preserving jobs in this community and you are seeing it right here,” Higgins said. “Without that money, we would have been dead in the water.”
We could ask the obvious—that is, just how much economic stimulus do you get by building free housing for people who don’t plan to work—but that would just kill the spirit of this happy day.
Our favorite news quote in all of this, though, comes from the Niagara Gazette:
While that may not seem like much to some, for Brown, one of the residents to occupy the first batch of affordable units completed as part of the North End HOPE VI housing development, it is like a gift from the heavens.
Actually, it’s a gift from the taxpayers. Give credit where credit’s due.