The block grants are a good source of money to help municipalities across the country that need it. Unfortunately, the city council can make the best decisions for each community, and in many cases you see these councils making decisions that don’t affect all neighborhoods. They are often trying to be responsive to the people they are trying to aid, without the same attention being paid to the people they are trying to help. So it allows a city like Dallas to make a strong decision about where to make a grant without taking into consideration all the community members. It’s good to focus on those who are most needed. I’ve seen it in places like Philadelphia that have the highest per-capita income. They give away a lot of money for affordable housing, but at the same time, they are putting a lot of new housing on top of that to make sure people aren’t priced out.
I agree with that. You also see in Seattle some of the same issues. That was a very good grant. That was a good one. It was like, “I’m going for the neighborhood.” And there were the people who were on council who said, “We have to focus on the urban core, and the urban cores have to be made more affordable to keep people in the city. That’s the city’s problem.” That’s a real problem. Why aren’t they doing that in Seattle now? And the block grants are one of the ways for us to make it work. It’s a great thing.
So when people say they want more money spent on the community, do they think it’s a good thing?
To some extent, it is. We think, “Let’s get this money to where we need it.” But it’s a question of whether we are putting it into the people who need it more than the people who do not.
But I was telling these parents and their kids, “You’re not going to go to college. You’re not going to get a job. You’re just going to sit there and wait to get hit by a bus. You’re not going to get to vote. You’re going to work in the shadows all your life, working poor.” And I had one group of teachers who came in and said, “What I like about the program is that if they’re getting low incomes, and they get poor test scores and they struggle with discipline, we’re also sending them to these middle schools.” I was really impressed.
I was on this project
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