To the Editor:
Many in Manchester view the housing and homeless situation as a fringe issue, but this present pandemic has shone a light on the fact that by ignoring the need for investment in safe, affordable housing and adapting to the needs of everyone who calls Manchester home, we will all be negatively affected.
Stable, adequate housing is a fundamental tool for communities to use to cope during all types of crises. If renters were not already paying well over 50 percent of their monthly income on housing, they would have the ability to save, thereby stabilizing the housing economy during times of economic stress.
If landlords and builders were not strapped with outdated zoning and building laws, the need to charge higher rents and focus on exclusively building luxury units, the margin of affordable vacancy would not be so dire.
If cities treated unstable housing as a crisis in itself that affects the city as a whole and addressed it responsibly, we could all be safer and healthier.
Safe and stable housing is the foundation on which we build our lives and our communities. We all deserve a city that is vibrant, diverse, safe, and thriving. This crisis has given us an opportunity to reimagine the way that we want to live. It is also showing how important it is to agree on solutions and implementing them as soon as possible.
We cannot waste this moment. We need to prepare for the next wave that will inevitably be coming.
Vanessa Blais/Manchesster Housing Alliance