Email letters, April 13, 2012

There is a growing need for affordable housing

The story about a proposed housing complex near Patterson and 28 Road outlines the community’s need for more affordable housing units. Unfortunately, the term “low-income” has all too often been equated with “criminal” or “irresponsible,” instead of “working poor.”

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, affordable housing means a household pays no more than 30 percent of its annual income for the roof over its head. It estimates that just over 10 percent of U.S. renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing.

Although this fact won’t shock families with adult children living with them, it’s worth repeating for everyone: A family with one full-time worker earning minimum wage can’t afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country.

And we know happens to local housing prices when oil and gas drilling booms.

In the old days, “affordable housing” used to be rooms and apartments located above street-level shops. Or the 800-square-foot houses that still stand on streets like Ouray Avenue. Or boarding houses and duplexes like the one where my widowed grandmother lived with her two kids while she worked as a bookkeeper for a local car dealer.

None of that housing is being built any more.

The story pointed out that crime is not appreciably higher at the city’s other affordable housing sites, but I understand why neighbors are concerned. Maybe next time, instead of staffing an open house with city employees, the housing authority could invite some of the 3,000 mechanics, nursing assistants, waitresses and retail clerks on the waiting list for housing they can afford.

CHARLIE QUIMBY
Grand Junction

Racing and lottery center will provide needed jobs

While reading Charles Ashby’s story about the horse track and video lottery center, I knew there had to be more to the story. Then after reading through all of the negative spin from a biased reporter there it was. 400 jobs for Western Colorado.

For the cynics at The Daily Sentinel, one company making money and hiring 400 employees seems to be a bad thing. For the rest of us hoping the economy and the housing market will turn around, the idea of an entertainment complex with video lottery machines and 400 new jobs is an idea that looks to be worth exploring. The liberals in Denver (and now the Sentinel), sets out to make a man that wants to invest millions of dollars in our community to be evil? Oh, I forgot they do that everyday with the evil energy industry.

With journalism like this we can all look forward to real unemployment of 20 percent, and the bleak economy that were are now experiencing.

GARY BAILEY
Grand Junction



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