Seniors and town embroiled in residential property dispute

Senior citizens are a blessed part of society, but not all members of society share that view. Proposed plans to build a senior housing development in Port Arthur has met with continued resistance by residents there who continue to oppose the construction of the facility in their neighborhood.

One district councilman has stated that the citizens in the area are not unsympathetic to housing plight of seniors. They just don’t want the housing project near their back door. Seniors have countered, saying they are being treated unfairly due to their low incomes.

One resident in Port Arthur, who lives with her family in subsidized housing states the options are limited if an individual is unable to pay higher rents in more upscale areas.

The director of the Port Arthur Housing Authority claims there are 67 elderly residents on the waiting list for low-income housing, but that not all live in Port Arthur. The Edison location had originally been chosen for being close to pharmacies, stores and hospitals. The mayor, as well as city developers, expressed disappointment with the vote, stating the ongoing battle against approval of the location shows disrespect for seniors. One developer attested that the disputed project could mean our elderly citizens might not be able to spend the last few years of their lives in pleasant dwellings.

While the project is estimated to cost about $12 million, that cost would have been offset by about $5 million if the Department of Housing had awarded tax credits. Due to the presence of other public housing projects in the city, a resolution had to be passed stating the city would not stop the construction of a new one.

While locals protest the project at the hearing, they claimed they would support it in someone else’s backyard. Those voicing complaints cite concerns about higher crime, but one law enforcement officer, who had experience with other senior facilities, denied there was a relationship between the two. A human rights advocate, the officer requested the people on the waiting list not be turned away.

Seniors have worked their entire lives to be able to spend their twilight years peacefully and in pleasant surroundings. Now a group of seniors has been placed in a situation where they feel unwanted and unappreciated. Residential property disputes take on a more emotional toll when the best interests of senior citizens are questionable.

Source: The Port Arthur News, “Edison Square plans derailed in tie Council vote” Sherry Koonce, Jan. 21, 2014