Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Community Service for Public Housing

From USA Today
Monday, December 24
Nashville, Tennessee - Some public housing residents in Nashville are turning into volunteers as they face a year-end deadline to fulfill community-service requirements. If they don't comply, about 200 residents could be evicted. The affected residents are required to serve for eight hours each month under the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998. Quick summary and pdf summary.

Okay, I never knew there was a 'work requirement' if you will , for public housing subsidies. To be honest, 2 hours a week is a walk in the park committment. But this does opens the door to the question: "Is it fair to make people be civically engaged?" I don't know. As a socialist-leaning person (lower case s) I think is a good thing. I am in favor of programs that promote and encourage civic engagement of citizens. I think community service for high schoolers is a good idea. I also support incentives to encourage people to do national service like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. But I keep arriving at a conclusion -volunteerism, philantropy, etc are on the Self-actualization side of the Maslow's hierarchy. It's been my personal experience that even among the poor, under-educated, and under-served, people often are generous, supportive, and charitable. But having a strong service-centered ethic is something that is often comprehensively and wholistically supported. If for whatver reason, you're more concerned about shelter, food, and or safety, you're less likely to be as or more concerned about giving back or stocking pantries.

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