Saturday, December 22, 2007

144 Las Vegas Families Face Homelessness

According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun yesterday, 144 families from Las Vegas' Buena Vista Springs, many of whom are African-American, may end up on the streets. The problem began this summer when the housing complex failed several inspections. To deal with the issue, the federal Housing and Urban Development Department and the Clark County Housing Authority gave the families Section 8 vouchers; however, they failed to complete required background checks. As it turns out, 144 families (out of the complexe's 212 families) have criminal backgrounds which may disqualify them from participation in the Section 8 program.

What should be done for these families and for so many others in our community that have criminal pasts? Should these pasts prevent them from being able to get good jobs and decent housing? Should others be forced to live in communities with them, simply because they are poor? These are tough questions facing our community. As LoBene and Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly noted, "There are not many programs that can respond to these families and their struggles with unemployment, lack of transportation and poverty. What do we do?"

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