As a mom-and-pop landlord who worked 20 years producing and preserving affordable housing in the public sector, I support eviction reforms.
But let’s get smart about economic development. Some of the corporations thriving in this gilded age of technology want us to think eviction laws are “a root cause” of homelessness. Baloney.
Like bankruptcy, homelessness results from health problems, underemployment, living paycheck to paycheck, debt, divorce, job loss, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration, and mental health issues.
Less directly — but significantly — shortsighted economic development efforts displace thousands from communities in which they can no longer afford to live.
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People at the top of the local food chain are toasting $200 cocktails and unwarranted billions in corporate tax breaks and incentives, along with the defeat of a “jobs tax” to help the homeless. Who wants a rising economic tide to lift all boats?
Sure, make the pay-or-vacate rule 10 days instead of three. But let’s also curb evictions and homelessness by ending our insidious but legal ways to fleece the poor: Payday and car title loans, 29 percent credit card interest, corporate welfare and our regressive tax structure, for starters.
Barney Burke, Port Townsend