Letters to the EditorNews

Unanswered Questions on People of Hope

The excellent investigative piece by Allison Floyd about the People of Hope (“Resident-owned Mobile Home Park Falls Apart,” Apr. 17) answers a lot of questions. My husband and I have supported this worthy project since the early 2000s, and we wondered what was going on.

But there are still questions to be asked, and I hope Ms. Floyd will keep up the good work. Who owns the property? [Editor’s note: It is owned by People of Hope, a nonprofit organization.] At one time, the Athens Land Trust was the fiscal agent receiving tax-exempt contributions. What would it take for them to get the project up and running? How much more money are we talking about, anyway?

Affordable housing for Clarke County is supposed to be one of the goals of our local poverty initiative, and a resident-owned and-managed mobile home park could certainly be part of the mix. What happened to our community attempt to alleviate poverty? Could the Athens Housing Authority play a role? How about Habitat for Humanity?

Ten years down the road, many of the original low-income members of the project have hopefully found other solutions, but aren’t there still people out there who might join up?

The article said the federal government wants its money back. The feds bailed out big banks; can some powerful person negotiate a reprieve for People of Hope?

I was at the ground-breaking for Clarke County’s first Habitat house and remember Vernon Payne, builder and Clarke County School Board member, telling me he had suddenly realized helping folks to own a home is a powerful game changer. “This will be property that can be passed down through the family for generations,” he said.

People of Hope is too good a dream to just let die. Could Ms. Floyd please ring some more phones and write some more stories?