View Full Version : How Section 8 Housing led to Trayvon Martin's death

07-16-2013, 12:57 PM
A little known fact about the Zimmerman case is that the "rash of burglaries" at The Retreat at Twin Lakes was a result of newly designated Section 8 housing. As the black newspaper The Grio (http://thegrio.com/2012/04/04/closure-of-housing-projects-stoked-tensions-in-sanford-before-trayvon-martin/) explains, there had been 6 housing projects in the Sanford area, which were "full of mold and falling apart for years." The decision had been made to raze the projects and redevelop the area, but the residents of the projects had to go somewhere. Government-assisted Section 8 housing in the nicer areas of Sanford was the answer. As the Grio puts it:

The six vacant housing projects are slated to be torn down, and the area redeveloped. There are plans for mixed income, single family homes. Many of the families who left the projects sifted out into greater Sanford, often receiving a less than warm welcome from the residents of the gated communities and other residential pockets in the city, like the Retreat at Twin Lakes, where Trayvon Martin was killed. After the recession devastated home prices across Florida, some homeowners began renting out their places, and HUD pays nearly all of the rent, making Section 8 an attractive offer for some desperate homeowners.

Oliver said some homeowners associations actively fought the new residents, who received rent assistance from HUD, in some cases prompting the local chapter of the NAACP to get involved.

“When they couldn’t stop them,” Oliver said, frustrated homeowners “started moving out.”

As local activist Kenneth Bentley, who runs a Florida Front Porch program that provides after school tutoring and mentoring to Goldsboro area teens, put it, the middle – and sometimes lower middle class families who bought into the townhomes and gated developments around Sanford “wanted to get away from the ghetto, but here comes the ghetto following right behind them.”

It was the destruction of the housing projects and the movement of the Section 8 people from the projects to the better areas of Sanford that led to the rash of burglaries in Zimmerman's community.

Now we can better understand the desperation of George Zimmerman and the residents at Twin Lakes. A formerly safe and pleasant, multi-racial, lower middle class community was suddenly being inundated with Section 8 housing and the resultant crime that comes with it. It is no wonder that Twin Lakes felt under siege. It is no wonder that they were all on Defcon 5, as Zimmerman's neighbor put it. It is also no wonder that Zimmerman mistook Trayvon for one of those Section 8 folks.

Had the government not forced a criminal element into the lives of hardworking people, there would not have been the rash of burglaries, the sudden fear of crime, the neighborhood watch, and, ultimately, the death of Trayvon.

07-16-2013, 01:43 PM
What I am about to say doesn't just apply to black people.

When my sister and I moved to San Francisco in 1980 we rented an apartment. It was the first time we had rented an apartment. Until then, we had lived in our parents' house, dorms at University Of Maryland, my grandfather's house, etc... Our apartment was very nice for what it was and didn't need us to do anything. Later on we moved to an Edwardian building that had old carpet and some much faded elegance in the woodwork, but it wasn't anything to brag about. Two guys moved into an identical apartment downstairs, and within two months the difference between their place and ours was remarkable. They had replaced carpet, put tile in the bathrooms and kitchen where linoleum used to be, painted the kitchen cabinets artfully, painted and papered the walls of the six room flat from top to bottom. We were not only impressed at how nice it was, we were surprised that anyone would put that cost and effort into a rented dwelling.

I now understand why those guys did that. It was their home. Whether it was going to be their home for a couple of years, or as rent controlled places have a habit, a lifetime, it was their home. I noticed that they were not alone. People all over the Castro made improvements to their rented dwellings, just like they owned it. Some even renovated kitchens and baths with new cabinets and fixtures and appliances.

Which brings me to what I see around here. I see people, black and white, who have cars which they keep clean and waxed. I see expensive tattoos, hair cuts, hair color, jewelry, and all manner of disposable income displayed by people who won't paint their house. Who have an air conditioner held up by four cinder blocks and assorted pieces of wood. People who have busted blinds hanging in the window behind a curtain that is never open. There is a house in my neighborhood whose owner closed in the porch, and stuccoed the walls, and then apparently forgot all about painting it. That same guy pays a lawn service to mow his grass.

07-16-2013, 04:57 PM
Is it because they don't own the places?

You're right about rentals. When people feel that sense of "home" even when they rent, they will make improvements. I lived in a small "granny flat" once. It was on the property of an elderly woman who used the flat to take in boarders for extra income. The rent was very low compared to the other rents in the neighborhood, but she only took in responsible, quiet people. I lived there for a number of years and repainted the place, put up shelving and lighting, put in new bathroom shelves and towel racks and new curtains. She, in turn, didn't raise my rent the whole time I was there. It was a great deal for both of us. When I left, she was able to get 80% more in rent for the place.