Letter: Including low-income housing in high-end Columbia makes little sense

October 09, 2012

Last week, your papers published a bizarre story about professional low-income affordable housing advocates lobbying the Howard County government to include affordable low-income housing in the future high-end pricey Columbia downtown residential development area ("XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, Sept. 27).

Million-dollar luxury condos and expensive apartments and townhouses already exist in this desirable area. Your story offered no clue about how these future low-income residents would be able to afford to do their food stamps-based weekly basic survival food and household items shopping in the high-end Whole Foods luxury supermarket destined for this newly redeveloped Columbia Downtown luxury living community (with no affordable ordinary supermarkets or other basic family services in the nearby Columbia Villages of Wilde Lake and New Town).

Living in walking distance of the high-end Mall in Columbia also offers few affordable basic human goods and services for low-income families. Has anyone bothered to ask potential low-income residents how comfortable they would feel living in such a basically unaffordable economic environment?

This "gift" of low-income affordable housing, bizarrely sited in a high-cost living area, resembles the legendary gift of a valuable white elephant the vindictive King of Siam once bestowed on his poor subjects who displeased him, until the hungry elephant devoured all of the wretched subject's food and money. This plan seems worthy of immediate rethinking.

Steve Carter


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