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Housing Experiment

November 13, 1994

Re "A Fresh Start," Nov. 8: It could have been no more ironic than on Election Day to focus on the attempt by public officials to initiate what you referred to as a "national experiment" to provide better housing conditions for public housing residents.

The idea behind the Moving to Opportunity program started by HUD is simple and consistent with the dreams Americans have pursued for centuries. Move to a better neighborhood; put your kids in better schools and get a better job.

If this limited public effort to liberate a mere 1,325 families from the debilitating confines of public housing is only an "experiment," it's because we have lost touch with the basic need to nurture self-improvement as a national goal. If this program is only an "experiment," perhaps we have grown so complacent that the concept of fair housing and integrated communities is now only a distant, faint national memory.

You referred to Patricia Williams as "guinea pig" in this "national experiment about housing, education, race and social mobility" because she wants to move from Watts' Jordan Downs project to a better neighborhood. If she is, we need more like her and the renewed commitment of our nation to embark upon more such experiments whose positive results have already been proven.

LARRY IRVIN

Los Angeles

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