As one who has worked in the public housing field for more than 40 years, I was delighted to see that your Jan. 12 editorial “Merger of housing agencies will reduce waste, cronyism” captured the essence of Governor Patrick’s proposal: to improve the quality of the lives of the people living in the state’s public housing.
Consolidating 240 housing authorities into six regional agencies sounds simple and rational. But much debate and expenditure of political muscle will be required to make the change. There are many details to be worked out before the reorganization can come to a successful conclusion, and there are many parties with a vested interest in keeping the ramshackle system exactly as it is.
The governor has grasped a sharp policy nettle. But it is a critical one to hold onto. For many years the idea of consolidation has been championed by those who have endured the inefficiency of the current system. That the governor has decided to work to remedy the situation should be applauded and supported by all those concerned with the welfare of the state’s public housing tenants.
The writer is professor emeritus of city planning in the department of urban studies and planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.