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Keeping Hope alive ... for now 

The HOPE VI program is the prized possession of the Atlanta Housing Authority, but funding for the program that has re-vamped major portions of the city's public housing complexes into mixed-income developments ends this year.

Democratic Congressman David Scott, who serves the 13th District, which is centered south of Atlanta in Clayton County, continues to push to keep the program alive with a bill that passed his House Financial Services Committee last week. The legislation, which would extend funding for the program until 2005, now heads for a full House vote, where its fate is uncertain. The Bush administration opposes the program and wants to divert funding to other initiatives.

For some in Atlanta's still-untouched public housing units, that's probably welcome news. While HOPE VI has dramatically improved many of Atlanta's housing projects, it's done so at a price. The program and the Housing Authority didn't bother to keep track of all those displaced by the re-developments and many were blocked from re-entering. Because of the shortage of affordable housing in the Atlanta area, critics have claimed that HOPE VI simply creates larger concentrations of poverty in new areas instead of truly dispersing it.

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