We Are New Albany was well represented at last evening's candidate forum at the New Albany Housing Authority's gym. The advocacy organization's Aaron Fairbanks has given permission for us to reprint his report.
This is why our political voice matters:
"I oppose any plan that vacates anyone from public housing that they are now living in. We will at the state level make that not happen. You will not be evacuated unless we have another plan that puts you in a position where you want to be."
-- 46th District State Senator Ron Grooms (R)
(This comes after Candi and myself blasted Grooms at a town hall in New Albany).
"I'd like to start tonight by addressing an issue that is critically important, which is affordable housing... I don't want to see any families put on the street making it even harder for them to get back on their feet. So it's important that we make sure we have an adequate supply of affordable housing that meets at least minimal standards."
-- 46th District State Senate candidate Anna Murray (D)
Anna had been in contact to notify me of her preliminary comments before she releases a pending statement on the local housing issue. She's also agreed to follow up by getting some questions answered regarding the city's plan:
- to ensure that demolition doesn't forcibly displace NAHA residents from New Albany or leave them at risk of homelessness.
- to ensure that demolition does not reduce NAHA's ability to meet future housing needs for those on waiting lists and housing assistance applicants.
- to ensure that the City and NAHA work to meet the dire need for rental housing and affordable housing options, while knowingly facing an affordable housing shortage.
"We are at the New Albany Housing Authority, so I'm going to briefly mention housing issues. First of all, I'm grateful to be endorsed by We Are New Albany. I'm honored to have their endorsement ... It's been a privilege ... learning more about the situation here at the [New Albany] Housing Authority, which unfortunately hangs as a dark cloud over many of the folks in this room. And I will continue to oppose any plan for the [New Albany] Housing Authority that could displace current residents without stable, long-term alternatives."
-- 72nd District State Representative candidate Ed Clere (R)
Thank you, Ed Clere, for standing with this group since day one. The use of your platform to stand by NAHA residents and We Are New Albany has absolutely helped to give public housing residents a voice when no one would listen and no one would speak on such an important discussion as affordable housing.
Unfortunately, our work is not done yet. I will not rest until the "dark cloud" is gone, and no one is in fear of being forced from their homes and their community. It's most unfortunate that candidates that I have met and have respected avoided talking about housing at the New Albany Housing Authority (You have got to be kidding me?).
I'm appalled by the silence of people who should be representing you and me.
I can tell you now that many of them are calling our "bluff." They have calculated that the NAHA residents affected by this plan won't vote, and they have decided that even so much as entertaining a conversation with us is unnecessary because of this lack of participation. So many other candidates attended the forum tonight (with requests for public statements I might add), yet they avoided our concerns that we have been making public for several months.
We absolutely need help to leverage these conversations, and there's no better way to do that than to get involved and vote!