Holding people accountable not always easy

Published 10:26 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

Eight Linden families who have not complied with HUD’s requirement for residents to spend eight hours a month performing some kind of community service are now being evicted unless a compromise can be reached.

This dilemma facing the Linden Housing Authority is a no-win situation no matter how you look at — except in one case.

Those who have been waiting in line for help finding a place to live.

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The old saying goes, “If you don’t appreciate what you have, you’ll lose it.” Well, that’s a tough stance to take in this situation, but it still rings true.

What excuse can someone come up with in not to being able to at least give back eight hours a month in community service in exchange for taxpayer supported assistance.

The housing program was designed not a permanent place to live, but as a way for people to be able to get back on their feet and start working towards owning a home of their own. It began as a way to help people during the Great Depression.

This community service requirement only applies to residents between 18 and 62 who are not disabled, not working, not in school and not elderly — in other words: Those that don’t have a job, but are able to work.

On top of that — eight hours a month is only two hours a week — 27 minutes a day of volunteer work. How hard is that?

The unfortunate truth to this story is that it does affect the children who are living with parents or relatives who refuse to comply. However, the respinsibility of caring for those children lies with the parents and part of their care lies in making sure they have a place to live.

Our view is simple — if you do not appreciate what you have been given, then you need to let someone else have it. If you fail to heed repeated warnings, that’s a clear indication it may be time to move on.