Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Celebrating Expanded Public Housing in Keystone

by Kyle Michaelis
This battle between the Omaha Housing Authority and residents of Keystone hasn't made a whole lot of sense to me from the start. While I understand concerns about what this low-income development will do to the neighborhood, the Omaha city council simply should not have balked as long as it has before giving this project its full approval. Frankly, as an outsider, I'm concerned that elected leaders halted this project for as long as they did when this housing was so desperately NEEDED, especially when the motivations of those seeking to stop the project have seemed to be reactionary, perhaps even racist but definitely economically-biased.

Maybe this is an unimformed reading of the situation. I can't look into the hearts of all those involved. But this plan will benefit Omaha's less fortunate, and I'm unconvinced that it poses any threat whatsoever to the existing neighborhood. I hope new residents will be welcomed with open arms because the surest way to disaster and exacerbating the problems so many fear would be ghettoizing these neighbors and excluding them from this wonderful community.

Suggested reading for citizens of Keystone: "The Displaced Person", a short story by the brilliant Flannery O'Connor.


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