Not a Great Idea: Regional Housing Authorities a Disservice

Everything in life has its pluses and minuses.

But in our view, whatever the pluses may be of Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal to eliminate the 240 local housing authorities and consolidate them into six regional offices are far outweighed by the negatives.

We simply would note that it has been our experience that corruption and inefficiency are just as endemic at the state level as at the local level. Gov. Patrick and his bureaucrats at the state may look down at those at the local level because of a few bad apples, but the state has had more than its share of political appointees who are useless or worse (for example, the woman who was named by the governor to the Highway Safety Council who had a horrendous driving record and who smashed her state car.)

However, another big motivation behind the move is that regionalization will save money. On that issue, does anyone doubt that whatever the projected size of the regional boards may be today, within 10 years they will grow immensely because that simply is the nature of state bureaucracy, and thus the savings will be largely illusional?

But more important, it is clear that even if there is some money to be saved, it will come at the expense of the tenants and prospective tenants for whom a local housing authority provides both convenience and excellent service. At some point, we have to acknowledge that providing services is worth the cost, and we believe that to be the case here.

Regionalization in some areas of government may be a good thing, but in our opinion, this is one regionalization plan that does not make sense.

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