Jun 26, 2007

No Dutchmen need Apply

Mildred and Milton are upset. They lived and worked their entire lives in Allentown. They both started working in sewing factories after high school and spend their working lives there. During the late 60's they owned their only car, and always lived in apartments. They never sought any help from the government, their culture taught them to make it do, use it up, wear it out and do without. When they heard about these new apartments overlooking the Lehigh, they thought that would be a nice reward for a life of hard work. They were told it would take years,years they don't have, to get on the list. Its hard for them to understand how brandnew comers to the area, who don't even speak English, go to the head of the line. They don't know about the poverty pimps, the social organizations, funded by grants; The professional advocates who know what buttons to push, who make a career out of political correctness. Maybe we need a Pennsylvania Dutch American Organization.


Bernie O'Hare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Are you aware of any Mildred or Milton who qualifies for this housing and is not getting it? I, myself, am a member of the gentile poor and would like to know whether this claim is factual or is just a scenario that sounds good and plays on people's prejudices.

michael molovinsky said...

on the contrary bernie, the reality counts on political correctness. i've know many qualified people who have been told it will take years for them to get housing, including an actual mildred(milton passed away waiting). the authority has a gray area, for hardship cases, this is how the housing advocates get their clients in. "No Dutchmen need Apply" is the story of Allentown. Its not prejudice, its reality.

Mr. Damien Brown said...


Sorry to disappoint but I recently helped a city mother & daughter who are currently living in a $500 a month one bedroom apartment fill out an application. Within two weeks a call was received from Pennrose properties notifying them they were in line for an interview. They even let them know exactly what number in line they were. The mother & daughter are as white as can be, they may even claim to be Dutch. A second bedroom would be bring them up to a decent standard of living even with nearly half of the household income going toward $500 in rent.

I remember seeing over the top improvements being made in the Acres with the same folks living there forever so I must admit I was a bit skeptical about how the application process would work out but it appears Pennrose is on the up and up.

Fortunately, the Allentown Housing Authority has little to do, if anything, with the leasing process in Overlook Park. In fact, the interview will be at Center Square, the senior building downtown owned by Pennrose. I think there are issues with this development that should be discussed but it is premature at best to imply race is one.

When I was about 13 my friend’s mom (living in the acres) explained it to me pretty eloquently. While watching a brand new roof being installed to replace perfectly fine one by saying “they get a lot of money out here for housing, they have to spend it.”

I think the ratio of owner occupied homes to rentals is extremely poor for a Hope IV development. Typically these developments succeed because half or more of the homes are sold, not rented. Only 53 homes will be sold in Overlook Park and only about half of them at market rate to buyers without income restrictions]. If possible, I would suggest fighting for more owner occupied units in the last two phases.

I also think it is worth questioning the Life Skills programs being administered by the Catholic Social Agency and others (at taxpayer cost) as part of this program. I was told flat out that residents who wanted to return would have strict benchmarks they would have to meet in career advancement and English skills before returning. Apparently the English thing went out the window.

Why did I inquire? I was genuinely interested in purchasing a new home (at market rate) with a great view in the last phase, and I still am. But in reality I question how things are going to play out because of the issues I mentioned above. It is increasingly doubtful I will move forward when the time comes.

Someone should also look into who pushed for preference to be given to returning residents. Simply stated it just isn’t fair. I have a feeling the locals pushed for that, not Pennrose. Maybe you’re they guy to figure this out MM. You seem to know a lot about this subject when you set aside the theatrics.

michael molovinsky said...

damien, I wouldn't use the word theatrics, but "No dutchman need apply" is a composite of many years of observation. this family you helped may have profited from your advocacy more than you realize; the people who need it the most are often intimiated by the application process. I'm not familar with penrose, but am very familar with AHA and the various social groups, including conference of churches and catholic social. are there many poor native locals(pa. dutch) and were they under represented in section 8 in the last 10 years, ABSOLUTELY. do the housing counselors for the various agencies have influence, absolutely. i think overlook was an ill-advised project, i think almost by definition it will become again the ghetto the alan jennings of this community lament. i thank you for your informed comment

Anonymous said...

I think that you are all missing the point. Projects are a disgrace, and should be abolished. All of those homes should have been sold at whatever the market can get. This is institutionalized ghettos, and I told the rep from Catholic Services that the goal shoud be to renovate homes throughout the city and place the needy in those homes. I know for a fact that tenants pay only $200 a month, not $500. And nearly all of them are lazy scammers who could and should at least work part-time. I know these people, have talked to them at the soup-kitchens and on the bus, so this is not about prejudice or bigotry. It is about government waste and stupidity.


imforeverone@yahoo.com said...

I'll tell you all this: as a college student trying to open a business who works indefatigably to make by business goal s area who hardly eats and is running out of gas just to make business succeed living in Overlook Park- I'd say Overlook Park has helped out tremendously.

I don't take advantage of government and when this business gets up and running I'll be paying back whatever help I receive 50,000 times over. I do think it is sad that Mildren and Milton were not able to get a place but it was hardly because of their race. The homes were built in 2009. The sign-up list began sometime in 2007. Obviously there would have been so many people so as to crowd out the list by 2008- just in time for economic recession.

So I do feel for those families but it is in no way race-based. If you would like other such communities to open, encourage Pennrose Management to get the grant funds again so they can make another. I would help out in such an endeavor since I think more people should have this opportunity but yeah- private corporations do what they choose to do and with some encouragement, they help people.