Filled With HOPE

The Federal HOPE VI program is changing the face of public housing.

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While still in her temporary Robles Park digs, McDanieal found a job at McDonald's. The store is not what many would consider to be within walking distance of her new place, but she walks just the same. Her boss' girlfriend watches her kids until her shift is over and her boss drives her home at night.

It may be overly optimistic to use the word "happy" to describe the end of McDanieal's story of housing woes. The fact remains that HUD programs like Section 8 and HOPE VI shift the poor around without creating any real mechanisms to help those who are struggling or making mistakes. Brown can't personally help every voucher-holder through the process, and without better funding the Urban League can't offer much for those who need more than a GED, a babysitter and a bus pass to become self-sufficient.

Wendy Hathaway is a graduate student working on Greenbaum's HOPE VI research. She also works at a Sulphur Springs community center where many of the kids of relocated residents hang out. She sums up the program this way: "It's a business plan, it's a real estate plan, but it's never a plan about people."

Contact Staff Writer Rochelle Renford at [email protected] or 813-248-8888, ext. 163.

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