Misconceptions abound about affordable housing [Letter]

Allison Knezevich's piece ("Baltimore County Council poised to block low-income housing," Nov. 18) does a great job of showcasing the many misconceptions about low-income housing and the people who need its assistance.

The views expressed by supporters of the resolution blocking the Rosedale housing project are typical NIMBYism, where communities are under the impression that the presence of participants in low-income housing programs leads to increased crime and overcrowding of schools. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Study after study has shown that the presence of voucher holders in neighborhoods has no effect on crime rates. This result should be no surprise to those who know the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which simply assists hard-working, responsible individuals and families, persons with disabilities, elderly persons and veterans who want to live in and contribute to thriving communities just like anyone else.

Communities should also know that housing vouchers are very difficult to obtain, with some people on the waiting list for more than 5 years before receiving their voucher. Because obtaining assistance can be challenging, voucher holders are generally good tenants, as negative behavior can result in losing the assistance.

When the average family buys or rents a house or apartment, their neighbors don't ask what their income level is, nor do they have a say in whether a family can move into their community. It's a double-standard to discriminate against low-income families, and relying on such false stereotypes simply should remind us all of the harm that discrimination has had in our society. Communities should embrace opportunities to lift people up and consider the actual person not an outdated discriminatory stereotype.

Odette Ramos, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the ConsiderThePerson.org advisory board.

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