I read that the City of Warrenton is going to tackle “affordable housing” (“Warrenton aims to tackle affordable housing scarcity,” The Daily Astorian, Aug. 24). The shortage we have is not necessarily affordable housing; rather the shortage everywhere is low-income housing.

What many people do not realize is that there is a sector of our population who are very low income, some as low at $731 a month on Supplemental Security Income. Shocked, are you? Well, you should be even more shocked at some of the low end — dare I say, at times even deplorable — dwellings that get a new paint job and carpet then the rent jacked up. Some I know of, secondhand, to $900 a month, or more. Some of those are even requiring tenants to have rental insurance. Try doing first, last and a deposit on that income.

In our capitalist society, and I’m not decrying that, most things are profit-driven. Some should not be, and some should be. Health care coverage and health care should not be profit-driven. Housing is an area that should be profit-driven, but to offset that, and address the low income sector of our population, there must be a means to ensure that low-income apartments and such are increased and maintained.

Some try and get the “Yes, we need low-income housing, just not in our backyard” brick wall. People have to acquiesce sometimes. Apartment complexes or rehabbed homes need to be located where they can, if this serious, life-impacting problem is ever to be adequately addressed.

Investors buy old apartments, rehab them, and then double the rent, causing the low-income renters to have to move, thereby increasing our homeless population. Have you even given thought to the emotional impact to those affected by these incidents? How would you feel?

I mean let’s get real. Affordable housing means homes built as close to the bare building code standards as possible, then sold for as much money as can be gotten for them. These homes are intended for the young couple who have finally been able to scratch their way out of minimum-wage jobs.

Affordable housing isn’t meant for those with a low income. Try buying an affordable house on $731, which is impossible, and honestly not the normal goal of folks on low income. Heck, you cannot rent anything for $731 a month without rental assistance, which is two-plus years on a waiting list.

So the issue, to me, is to realize the difference between affordable housing and low income housing. If our elected officials want to tackle housing problems, and they should, tackle low income housing because everyone deserves a clean, warm, accessible and dry place to live.

Steve Hawks


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