Correspondence

HUD Strikes Again

Letter From Lima

It may not be the start of the Great Middle American Revolution, but the reaction of residents in Lima, Ohio, to a heavy-handed public housing plan shows that some Americans are still willing to stand up for their communities. A declining industrial city of 45,000, Lima has seen its share of hard times in recent years. In the city's south side are hundreds of acres of rotting industrial hulks where steel was forged and locomotives were built. Lima has lost several thousand jobs in the past few years, and now British Petroleum has announced the closing of its refinery, which employs 470 workers.

To add insult to injury, the county's Metropolitan Housing Authority (an agency funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) has announced plans to build 28 new housing units throughout Lima's dwindling middle- and working-class neighborhoods. The last time Met Housing, as it is unaffectionately called, did its handiwork, it built scores of ranch houses that have the architectural finesse of bomb shelters. They were plopped like brick elephants in some of Lima's finest older neighborhoods.

Combined with its inept management of the federal Section 8 program, which subsidizes low-income tenants in privately owned homes. Met Housing has turned many stable, well-kept neighborhoods into enclaves of run-down rental housing. It is no surprise that more than half of the city's houses are now rental units...

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