Just this Monday a 15 year old boy was shot to death in the Benny Costa housing project, despite local officials attempts to reassure the public that the problem is not as bad as it seems, no one is buying it. A few days later at a meeting held at the nearby Dolan Apartments to discuss safety issues at the city's housing projects only 3 Benny Costa residents attend, even though the meeting is a response to what happened at Benny Costa. One of Benny Costa residents declares that the housing projects are being used as a "home-base" and states that residents didn't come to the meeting "because they're afraid,".
Yesterday the front page of the herald reports that a drug trafficking operation was being run out of Pleasant View, another Fall River housing project! Great Fall River is looking to establish itself as a hub for economic growth, looks like we're succeeding.
Now this morning I find out that there have MORE arrests in our city's projects and I wonder does everyone in public housing use or deal drugs?
Yesterday, Keri Rodrigues on her show suggested random drug tests for people in public housing, a view I find a bit too extreme but I have to admit, I know where she's coming from and I have to say I don't have any magic solutions.
What can we do? How do we reclaim our neighborhoods?
- Let's take a serious look at Eric Poulin's call for a Drug Summit
- Let's see what course of actions other communities have successfully taken and see if we can adopt them here
- Let's recognize that poverty and drug abuse are too often found in the same place and push for tougher punishment for people who sell in or around Public Housing projects.
- Let's redouble our efforts to reach our young and present positive role models and good learning experiences.
- Explore and implement every resource at our disposal to improve the environment around our projects and in our city.
- Let's remember that after the issue fades from the headlines and airwaves if we allow it to be put on the back burner we are part of the problem not the solution.