Find­ing sup­port for low-in­come hous­ing

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE -

In read­ing re­cent ar­ti­cles about the vote by Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil to re­ject state fund­ing for a planned af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in Rosedale, I felt trou­bled that cer­tain un­founded at­ti­tudes to­ward voucher hold­ers pre­vailed and amhope­ful that there is an in­creased aware­ness that more af­ford­able hous­ing is needed through­out the county.

I was trou­bled by re­marks that crimes go hand-in-hand with voucher hold­ers and that it doesn’t mat­ter whether “Sec­tion 8” oc­cu­pancy is just a few res­i­dents or many more, the com­mu­nity will be in­un­dated with crime (“Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil poised to block low-in­come hous­ing,” Nov. 18). Rep­utable re­search groups have found no cor­re­la­tion be­tween Sec­tion 8 oc­cu­pancy and crime. In­stead, they find that house­holds whowould rather use their vouch­ers in a safe, op­por­tu­nity-rich neigh­bor­hood very fre­quently have to use their vouch­ers in com­mu­ni­ties that al­ready have a high rate of crime.

My hope­ful feel­ings stem from com­ments made by Coun­cil­woman Cathy Bevins and County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz af­ter the vote was taken (“Kamenetz: Coun­cil sent ‘wrong mes­sage’ by block­ing hous­ing project,” Nov. 20). Though Ms. Bevins and Mr. Kamenetz had op­pos­ing views on the planned de­vel­op­ment, she said that the ad­min­is­tra­tion needs to fig­ure out how to spread af­ford­able hous­ing through­out the county, and Mr. Kamenetz said that af­ford­able hous­ing needs to be ac­ces­si­ble across the county and that he is “ex­plor­ing a va­ri­ety of strate­gies for more af­ford­able hous­ing,” pos­si­bly in­clud­ing a law that pre­vents hous­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against peo­ple us­ing vouch­ers.

In the past the “Be­yond the Bound­aries” pro­gram helped mem­bers of di­verse Catholic parishes to have sis­ter re­la­tion­ships, which was very help­ful in break­ing down­stereo­typ­i­cal bar­ri­ers. More things like this today are nec­es­sary not only in Bal­ti­more County but in Bal­ti­more and in the whole re­gion so that what Mr. Kamenetz says he is ex­plor­ing will have the broad sup­port to ac­tu­ally hap­pen.

Brother Jerry O’Leary, Bal­ti­more

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