Af­ford­able hous­ing is­sue needs ac­tion

Lethbridge Herald - - READER’S FORUM -

As we read yet another ar­ti­cle on the min­i­mum wage de­bate, I think the point be­ing missed is that af­ford­able hous­ing is al­most nonex­is­tent.

Most peo­ple who are liv­ing be­low the poverty line would be happy to pay 30 per cent of their in­come for safe, clean, af­ford­able (geared to in­come) hous­ing.

By safe I mean they are able to lock their door and not worry about un­wanted vis­i­tors. By clean I mean a place that is free of ver­min, where the bath­room is func­tional and there is an ab­sence of bed bugs. By af­ford­able I mean the ten­ant has some­thing to live on once the rent is paid.

If no one has no­ticed that rents have in­creased dra­mat­i­cally, then truly they are out of touch with re­al­ity. A case in point be­ing some­one who lived in a ma­jor city in Al­berta sev­eral years ago, their rent was $750 a month. When this per­son fi­nally moved due to fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, it was $1,050. This was a bachelor suite.

No one wants to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the hous­ing cri­sis. Many, many rentals have been bought and turned into “For Sale” con­dos.

The per­son who even­tu­ally moved is now liv­ing in a mo­tel room, which takes most of their in­come. This per­son worked since the day they turned 18.

The pro­file of the home­less needs to change. It is be­com­ing, more of­ten than not, the plus-50 wid­owed or di­vorced per­son, who is no longer able to work, due to is­sues such as poor health and lack of fam­ily sup­port, who does not own their own home.

If the gov­ern­ment re­ally wanted to make a dif­fer­ence, they would end their use­less “stud­ies” on home­less­ness and put that money into af­ford­able hous­ing.

How­ever, this con­tin­ues to be a blind spot with most politi­cians, who are en­sconced in their com­fort­able homes, far from the re­al­i­ties of the home­less, what­ever the rea­son.

Ruth Jewell


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