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BHA executive director takes issue with ‘squalid’ label

Dear Walter, This letter is in response to your use of the words ‘squalid public housing’ in your last weeks’ edition of The Herald Gazette. What did you see when covering the story that made you think it was squalid? The public housing in Barnesville is in excellent shape and is far superior to some of the private rental properties in the county ‘“ and superior even to other housing authorities. We are regulated by HUD and inspected annually to ensure we are providing safe, decent and sanitary housing to our community. Applicants are thoroughly screened (credit, criminal and rental histories) before being placed on the waiting list. Residents are required to report to us any changes in household composition or income within 10 days of their occurrences. We offer classes to our residents on parenting, home ownership, anger management and money management and other topics we feel will enhance their quality of life. Griffin Technical College teaches literacy classes on site for anyone in the community. Our community is comprised of elderly, disabled and working families. Some of our residents are employed by the local school system, the nursing home and local restaurants. Some of the residents have met with hardships that are common to all of us. Without public housing many of our elderly and disabled would be living in substandard housing, with family members or possibly on the streets. Some of our elderly have been productive members of our community but were never fortunate enough to own their own home and now cannot afford to pay market rent. Residents in the Barnesville Housing Authority have become medical doctors, teachers and nurses and have moved up and out of public housing. Public housing doesn’t have to become a way of life; it can be a stepping stone to a better life. If you disagree with some of the rules and regulations regarding public housing, it is up to you and me to write our congressional leaders and ask them to make changes. We welcome the opportunity to take you into our communities and show you our public housing and let you meet some of our residents. Sincerely, Patty M. Henry Executive Director

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