Affordable housing is immoral

Dear Editor:

Building new “affordable housing” is immoral, and Frank Raia may want to rethink his campaign ad.

It shows him standing in front of a new building, crediting him with building new so-called affordable housing in Hoboken, as if to imply that he does all that as a money-losing, kind-hearted gesture of goodwill – like he’s donated the building or something. Nice try. Believe me, he profits from it.

First, I know what it usually takes for a needy person to get an affordable apartment in this area – one or more of the following: connections, bribery, or sometimes luck.

Second, since the residents aren’t paying their own way, guess who does? All the rest of us, with the burden falling predominantly on the working poor who aren’t lucky, connected or corrupt enough to buy their way into one of these buildings. What happens the next time we face a recession? The rest of us taxpayers will suffer pressure on our wages. Or we may get laid off, while still having to pay for our own roofs over our heads. We could also see our taxes rise. But we deal with it by drawing on our savings, borrowing, help from family members – whatever it takes – but we pull our own weight. All the while, the lucky ones who bought their way into the “system” are protected from economic downturns for life, forcing more burden on the rest of us who are carrying their weight.

Third, that’s right – for life. We all know once someone gets into a subsidized building, they continue to stay there for life, no matter how much money they eventually make. Just ask the Russo family. By staying in Church Towers do you think they’ve prevented a needy family from having an apartment to live in? Of course. But to think affordable housing is really about helping the poor means you don’t understand it. This is about gaming the system, and once you realize that, it’ll make sense why some very well-off families don’t leave on their own, nor are they forced to go to make room for the genuinely deserving.

There are people living in subsidized buildings who make more money, have nicer cars and go out to eat more often than I do – and yet my taxes go to lower their rent and guarantee their discount parking spaces. Chances are right now you’re subsidizing people better off than you too, and you should resent it. Otherwise it’ll only get worse, because it gives politicians something to hand out to supporters. To believe this kind of patronage will shrink or level off on its own, you’d have to believe politicians want less power.

Helping the poor? That’s about as believable as Frank Raia donating those buildings in his picture. Affordable housing is an assault on the working poor and middle class who struggle and yet manage to pay their own way – and that’s most of us. It’s neither fair nor moral. It’s plain old patronage masquerading as philanthropy.

We pay for it, they get power from it, and we’re told how moral they are.



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