Letter: ‘Monitor’ needs to offer clarity on state of housing
The Monitor’s editorial on the Vegas Block (Monitor Opinion, Aug. 15) is so muddled that it gives us little solid idea of whether its conclusion is correct or not.
We are told that housing downtown is skewed toward low-income housing because 267 units are subsidized in one fashion or another. By what standard did the editorialists make that judgment? We are given no figures on how many unsubsidized units there are. We are not even told what area the editorialists consider to be downtown.
The editorialists tell us they hope the Vegas Block will be turned into market-rate apartments. They already were market rate, serving the very low end of the market much as one might buy an old used car as a beater.
The editorialists confuse Section 8 and other programs that subsidize the tenant to occupy a market-rate unit with subsidies for the unit, which must then be available only for low-income tenants for some period of time. A unit now occupied by the holder of a Section 8 certificate might well be occupied by an unsubsidized tenant next time around.
The Monitor praises the city’s welfare department for soon doing the right thing. Why not demand it immediately since it was clear the purpose of the “inspection” was to evict all of the tenants? What changed in the month of ownership by the new landlord to make the building uninhabitable?
This reader hopes the Monitor will do an extended series on downtown housing that will help readers understand the city’s policy choices.