Improving housing requires plan

Published 9:04 am Sunday, March 25, 2007

Anyone who has watched the reality TV show “Survivor” quickly sees how important the simple things in life become, especially when they’re taken away.

Food, water, clothing, shelter, all are among life’s most critical requirements. And many of us take those precious things for granted.

Drive the streets of Natchez, Vidalia, Ferriday and other parts of the Miss-Lou and one can quickly see great disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots” of housing.

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That disparity speaks to many things — a myriad of socio-economic factors, the culture of poverty, an education system that apparently is failing, etc.

But recognizing when the most basic of needs are not being met is the first step in getting the problem solved.

Natchez city leaders, for example, raised the issue of improving housing as one of their most important focuses.

Yet, to the best of our knowledge, a plan of action hasn’t been put into place, no studies have been done to understand how to effectively improve the situation.

Volunteer organizations such as Habitat for Humanity do an excellent job providing housing.

Obviously government may not be able to use a similar approach, but some out-of-the-box thinking may help solve some of the problems.

Could we develop a plan of action for each neighborhood, each block?

What gains could be made if government helped connect developers with the needs and sought a solution beneficial to all?

The questions are easy; the answers are difficult.

But the best way to work through the difficult answers is by beginning a public dialog.

Doing so will turn our community from a simple “survivor” to a flourishing “winner.”