A Short Explanation of What The Philadelphia Housing Authority Is
The Philadelphia Housing Authority (which I will refer to as PHA) is in place to help people obtain housing that would otherwise be on the streets due to their low income. It is an excellent resource and in the end, if running properly, saves the taxpayers money. It saves taxpayers money for numerous reasons. With fewer homeless people, there is less cost in controlling and helping the homeless population. Being able to own or rent their own homes would mean lower crime because there are fewer people desperate in the streets. PHA has programs for formerly homeless people and families to teach them how to adjust to no longer having to fend for themselves on the street. PHA also offers job training, health clinics and youth and senior programs.
Problems Plaguing Philadelphia Housing Authority
Unfortunately, this wonderful program has become completely overwhelmed with problems and misuse of funds. Most of these funds are from the taxpayers of Philadelphia. At a time when we are all watching our own budgets, it is very difficult to see our taxes being frivolously tossed to the wind. A major problem right now has Carl Greene, Philadelphia Housing Authority executive director, at the center of controversy. The first and the worst of the controversies is that he is accused by numerous co-workers of sexual harassment. He is on PAID LEAVE while they investigate. So he is being paid while not working. I know that here in the US we are innocent until proven guilty. Here’s where my problem with tax dollars paying his salary while criminal investigations take place, several allegations have been settled out of court already that alone says guilty. Which brings us to the next problem with Carl Greene and tax dollars at waste. The lawsuits that were settled were done so with taxpayers money, not out of his own pocket. Some people may look at it in another way because the cases were settled by and with the insurance company for the PHA. However, the insurance premiums are paid for with taxpayer money, and insurance rates have been steadily climbing due to the amount of lawsuits. So yes, the taxpayers are once again footing the bill. Now as a final insult to the taxpayers of the city of Philadelphia, Carl Greene announced on September 8th, 2010 that he will be suing PHA’s board of directors in excess of $600,000. This would be the amount of his remaining term-two more years. He says that since he has lost his position (which so far he hasn’t), and lost his character due to the way he was treated he deserves this money. WHYY News and Information quotes former Mayor John Street as saying: “There’s an outstanding case and there are other women who after years of holding this stuff in are saying this happened to me and he sues us because he wants two years pay, that’s one for the books.”
In the end, hopefully our city can rid the PHA of this mess and now soured reputation with the taxpayers. Former Mayor Street is a large supporter of change and repair of the PHA. Without PHA so many people would be homeless or unable to hold onto their homes. It is such an important program. It is very important that the taxpayers of Philadelphia do not hold a grudge against the entire program for one bad apple. Best scenario is that Carl Greene finally moves on and PHA can finally get back to the business of helping residents, not spending all their time and money in court.
Tom MacDonald “Street dismisses Greene’s suit against PHA” WHYY News and Information