The last name of a member of the District's Statewide Health Coordinating Council was dropped in a story in yesterday's editions. Gottlieb Simon is the chairman of a council subcommittee that reviewed a proposal to fight alcholism in the city public housing projects.
The District housing department has proposed a $1.2 million program to fight alcoholism in the city's public housing projects in which neighbors would have the prime responsibility for pointing out problem drinkers.
The proposal calls for a tenants advisory committee "to select and screen program participants," training tenants to counsel neighbors with drinking problems and creating a jobs program for 260 recovered alcoholics to stop them from returning to the bottle.
Housing officials said that tenants with drinking problems would not be required to participate and would only be evicted if they were noisy and interfered with other tenants' "peaceful" enjoyment of their property.
The proposal also calls for the city to crack down on licensed liquor stores located near the projects that require that liquor be purchased before they will cash a social security or welfare check. Most public housing tenants do not have bank accounts and must rely on neighborhood stores to cash their checks.
Bill Clark, acting chief of social services for the city's Property Management Administration (PMA) estimated that 10 percent of the 60,000 people who live in the city's projects are problem drinkers and would qualify for the program.
The proposal is the latest in a series of steps taken by the city housing administration to try to rid its 55 projects of their worst social problems.
Ten days ago PMA administrator Sidney Glee said the department would soon begin evicting whole families when a family member was convicted of committing a crime at the project where they lived.
The department also intends to start screening prospective tenants more carefully to see if they have good housekeeping and rent-paying habits and sending current tenants who are rent delinquents or bad housekeepers to special classes.
Housing director Robert L. Moore has called alcoholism the major social problem in the city's 11 public housing projects for the elderly.
In these projects, usually high-rise buildings, many elderly tenants, especially women, are afraid to leave their apartments, day or night, for fear of meeting unruly or threatening drunken tenants in the halls.
But the housing department's alcoholism proposal has already run into charges that it would be an invasion of privacy, "would be used to weed out undesirables" and would result in "snooping" among residents.
Those accusations were leveled by some members of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, a citizens advisory committee to the city's Department of Human Services.Before the federal government will review the grant request, the committee must approve the proposal, since it would involve more than $800,000 in federal health funds.
Gottlieb, chairman of the council subcommittee that reviewed the proposal last month, said the group was concerned that tenants would be responsible for identifying neighbors with problems and selecting tenants for the program. The implication was, he said, that tenants who refused to participate would face eviction.
He said the committee was also concerned that neighbors would serve as counselors to tenants with drinking problems and thus be privy to personal information about their neighbors.
Clark denied that tenants would do the selection though that is what the grant proposal says. He said all tenants would participate on a voluntary basis.
He said tenants would make better counselors than outsiders because they would be available around-the-clock and because neighbors would trust other neighbors more than they would outsiders.
The proposal was the result of four years of discussions between property managers and tenants about alcohol abuse in the projects, the home of one out of every 10 city residents.
Under the proposal, 115 residents would be trained to help alcoholic tenants and to teach other tenants to recognize the early signs of alcohol abuse.
In addition, the housing department hopes to establish a halfway house for 15 chronic alcoholics who have been detoxified.