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Let others have shot at housing

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, The Sitka Apartments building in the Pearl District was built with the benefit of tax credits requiring that tenants not earn more than $28,000 a year when they move in. Once in, those residents don’t have to leave simply because their salaries increase. Several letter writers take issue with that policy.

Tara Mooney absurdly defends her continued residency at Sitka Apartments with: 'It's kind of helped get us on our feet' - apparently meaning that she and her husband (and new baby) can leisurely stockpile enough cash for a down payment on a house and eventually get out of the cramped apartment culture altogether (Incomes rise, but renters can stay, Nov. 5).

Meanwhile, there are people not far from her questionable taxpayer-subsidized situation who are literally on their feet much of the day and night (when they're not lying on the sidewalk) because they have no place to live.

I can understand that continuously trying to monitor tenants' income is impractical for landlords, but a yearly financial review seems a reasonable compromise for participating in this program. If this means that selfish yuppie wannabes may be forced to abandon their dreams of homeownership or living in the Pearl and settle for a dumpier place at full market rate in less savory neighborhoods, so be it.

Jack McClellan

Homeless in Northwest Portland

Working poor need housing too

It's worth mentioning that low-income housing qualifications require you to be the poorest of the poor (Incomes rise, but renters can stay, Nov. 5). So many working class folk spend more than one-third of their income on rent.

There needs to be some sort of bridge between low-income housing and, say, a typical Portland one-bedroom costing about $650 a month.

Kevin Finch

Northeast Portland

Focus on tax credit success, not struggles

In response to 'Incomes rise, but renters can stay' (Nov. 5), I would ask the Tribune to be careful about too broadly describing the whole Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. When the tax credit is used well - and it is used well by nonprofits in Oregon - it creates affordable housing opportunities for seniors, people with disabilities, working families and others priced out of the housing market.

The issue is not the tax credit. The issue is responsible stewardship. Mission-driven nonprofits that use the credit are responsible stewards who make the public investment work to provide needed housing.

Let's make sure we focus on the success of the tax credit in providing needed housing, not just where the program struggles.

Michael Anderson

Executive Director, Oregon Opportunity Network

Northeast Portland

Cheating system hurts those in need

This is the problem: Just because it isn't against the law doesn't mean it's all right. People taking advantage of low income housing that no longer qualify as their income rises should be ashamed of themselves (Incomes rise, but renters can stay, Nov. 5).

When did we start thinking that the government owed us something? If people like this continue to find ways to milk the system, how are we supposed to pay for all these new government entitlement programs? What do you want to bet that most of these people support a national health care plan? How do they suppose that will be paid for? Taxes! While they rob others in the community the opportunity to get a leg up, these perfectly able people skirt their tax burden.

This subsequently passes the burden onto someone else and artificially raises the perceived need and demand for lower income housing. People need to stop relying strictly on the letter of the law to provide their conscience.

Julia Cailliet

Lake Oswego

Grateful for temporary help

Forty-two years ago I lived in a an apartment on Northeast 91st and Hassalo. You had to prove your income when you applied for residence and every year there after. We lived there two years and were very grateful for the help.

What has happened to our sense of fairness that those that need help should stand and wait so those who have been given help and no longer need it stay (Incomes rise, but renters can stay, Nov. 5)?

Who is ultimately responsible for this?

Nancy Casey

Southwest Portland

Potshots on payday lenders unnecessary

Steve Law's article 'Offering loans, without profit' (Nov. 5) was introduced with an anecdote about a man who had allegedly been victimized by a lender who charged a 300 percent interest rate for a $1,700 short-term title loan, resulting in the loss of his truck and all the tools he purchased with the $1,700. The article implied not only that this transaction was recent, but also that it is typical.

Since 2007, no licensed Oregon lender can charge more than 36 percent per annum (3 percent per month) for any consumer loan, which would amount to $51 per month on a $1,700 loan; therefore, it can be neither recent nor typical, and is probably not true. I doubt that this event actually occurred as presented even three years ago - there must be a lot more to the story, if partially true.

The article was permeated with unnecessary potshots and distortions aimed at short-term payday and title lenders and their customers. It is true that the elimination of 80 percent of Oregon's payday lenders since the 2007 statute has forced many consumers to use other more expensive alternatives for their short term needs, such as online lenders, bank overdraft fees and late payment penalties.

The remaining 20 percent of short-term lenders continue to provide solutions for consumers at a reasonable cost, with a high level of customer satisfaction. If someone else, including Innovative Housing Inc., can do it cheaper - competition is good. Otherwise, maligning licensed and regulated payday lenders and their employees is not constructive.

Steve Hanson

President, Oak Brook Financial Corp.

Southwest Portland

Bank penalties are deterrent

I had bounced checks in my younger days before banks started processing the checks before the deposits and processing the largest checks first (Fees for bounced checks draw ire, Oct. 29). The penalties were a deterrent.

However, I agree the banks are unfairly plumping the revenue on the backs of their customers.

Peggy Salas Woolsey

Salem

Don't blame banks for your carelessness

Americans love to play the victim. Like the debt problem here: Blame the banks and the government rather than look at how they bought houses they couldn't afford and ran up credit card debts because of that (Fees for bounced checks draw ire, Oct. 29).

I do have some sympathy for the person whose bank didn't clear their paycheck for four days - there's no excuse for that. But the vast majority of the problem lies with people who are careless with their money.

I can check my bank balance online at any time of the night or day to see if I have money available. Since the vast majority of people have computer access today, why can't they?

Jim Bellah

Newberg