Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities

 The other night my husband and I attended a meeting given by the Montgomery County Commissioners held in Pottstown.  It was one in a series of meetings designed to be a listening tour of sorts to hear from the citizens of the county.  The first part of the meeting was all about what the commissioners are doing and a little information on what is being planned at the county level.  The last part of the meeting was all about the residents.

Since we were not able to attend an earlier meeting due to scheduling conflicts, we attended this meeting and it was great that we did.  Pottstown and Norristown are very similar in age, architectural assets, and socio-economic population.  We vary a little in racial makeup, but generally there are similar issues in both municipalities.  The main topic of concern that evening was Section 8 and the administration of the program.  As you may know, this is a Federal program which is administrated by the county so any changes to the law, or any compliance with the law has to be done on the Federal level.  It was very interesting to note that some of the comments that came up sounded as if we were sitting in a Norristown audience.  There are the same frustrations about the holders of the vouchers, or perhaps the assumed holders of the vouchers because due to privacy laws everyday residents are not able to know that a particular house is in the program.

There were no solutions given that night, but there is a lot of follow up that needs to be done.  The person who chairs the department took a lot of names and supposedly will follow up with the complainants.  It was of interest that 92% of the municipalities accept vouchers, and the idea is that voucher holders can go anywhere in the county but the reality is that they gravitate to one or the other locations maybe because they have family or other ties to those municipalities.  It remains to be seen where this program goes or if the problems associated with them go away.

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