However, supporters also argue that this referendum will help the residents of Franklin create better lives for themselves by moving them out of a violent, crime-ridden neighborhood. With all due respect, I think this argument could not be further from the truth.
In reality, this referendum will only ensure the displacement of the thousands of people who currently reside on Franklin. There is no guarantee those displaced residents will be able to find another adequate and affordable housing situation. I would argue that if safer, more affordable housing were readily available then many of those residents would have already moved off of Franklin.
No one wants to raise a child in a crime-filled environment, but unfortunately most are living on Franklin because that area is the only place they can afford. The bond referendum is not going to change the economic situation for those residents. Therefore, are we not simply substituting one low-income housing situation for another with no real guarantee that the quality of life for those displaced is going to be any better?
Marietta Housing Authority has stated that it is committed to finding housing for all and I am sure that MHA has the best of intentions for doing just that, but what if affordable housing is simply not available for every single one of the thousands affected? What will happen to them?
If we as a community are going to displace thousands of people, is it not our obligation to ensure that adequate, affordable housing is readily available elsewhere? In my opinion, a verbal commitment, even with the best of intentions, is not enough.
I would ask you to consider the grandmother who lives on Franklin and has worked the night shift at Wal-Mart for years. She then comes home every morning to take care of her young grandchildren while her daughter goes to work. She is incredibly hardworking, but her apartment on Franklin is the only place she can afford. She would say she is lucky because she owns a car and is able to get to work with a quick and easy commute.
What happens to her if she has to move away from Franklin to an area that makes her commute to work cost-prohibitive? What will happen if she loses her home and her job? If this referendum passes on Nov. 5, I only hope that the city is adequately prepared to deal with the high cost of displacement.
Brennan Rinehimer Marietta