Letters to the Editor

Lack of affordable housing affects us all

Adequate and affordable housing is important for the security and positive development of individuals and community. If this need is met, individuals are less likely to need other services that are already strapped.

Individuals and families who are considered low-income and homeless are often viewed as undesirable community members and blamed for their situation. This view leaves little room for understanding, empathy, and caring. Let’s consider if we ourselves did not earn enough to afford our current rent or mortgage -- where would we go? What help would we need and how would we get it?

A standard principal is that households should devote no more than 30 percent of their income to housing. In Olympia, approximately 52 percent of households are overburdened (making less than $3,173 a month and renting at or above the median rent), rental assistance programs are scarce, and even waitlists to access federal Section 8 vouchers can be as long as two years, according to the Housing Authority of Thurston County.

Affordable, livable, and sustainable housing is critical to the well-being of communities. More collaborative support between government, community, private, and public sectors are needed to guarantee affordable housing options. These options should not be hastily produced, but rather complement existing neighborhoods and become a place that is livable and sustainable for all low-income individuals and families to want to call home, now and in the future.