Letter: Pursue affordable housing



I was disappointed to read the July 30 Columbian story, “City council mulls exception for apartments.” Even more, I’m dismayed by the council’s action to hold a public hearing on Aug. 5, which could destroy plans for the Vancouver Housing Authority’s First Street project. The issue brought before the council was a variance in density, not to question engineered traffic studies.

I served on the VHA board for 10 years and was its chair for the last three years, ending in March. The board has worked diligently on this project for several years. It’s not often an agency can find a location that can offer affordable, mixed-income dwellings, jobs the residents are qualified for, and access to quality schools, shopping and public transportation. Since there is not much federal, state or local funding to use for subsidized housing, they have worked diligently to secure funding for this $30 million project, as well as using their own monies.

Our society is continually crying out: house our veterans; better schools for our students; jobs for our people. Here it is. If the council chooses to cancel the project by trying to focus on designing traffic flow instead of housing people, the consequences will be no affordable housing and no jobs.

Ceci Ryan Smith