Housing is a Human Right
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Living on the Outskirts
Anita - Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 7:06 P
Landlords Perspective
I would like to recommend a "My Turn" article in the Greenfield Recorder April 24. Jasper Lapienski points out that, "housing is not out of control, we are". There are empty units throughout Franklin County, Massachusetts and the nation that can not be used because of insurance requirements, building codes and expectations about what people need to live, comfortably.
I personally rent four units in my home. I have lived with the drug addicted, alcoholic, incarcerated, hoarders, self-abusers, and people with scary tempers. Mostly I love what I do and the people I meet, but when it goes badly it can be devastating to the balance of the whole. I am not a social worker. When I encounter people struggling with mental illness, I have to trust my own instincts to manage it, and I'm good at it, but I'm not a social worker. I've had to remove people with no place to go, I've had to remove truck loads of trash and feces left behind. I have had to empty rooms of furniture, mattresses, etc... due to damage of the tenants who struggle with day to day basic skills. I hear people wanting landlords to be more open and accepting and I have seen the property damage tenants leave behind when things go wrong and there are evictions. We're all covering our asses as fast as we can because being responsible will cost you dearly.
adminSusan - Sun, Apr 25, 2021 10:11 A
Thank you, Anita. Although I am not presently a landlord I was one for more than 30 years. In that time, I had my share of "tenants from hell" . It is true that there are people who are disrespectful of the property that they live in and the people who work to make that property a decent place. There are folks to take advantage of the willingness of a landlord to accommodate them. All that is true. And most small landlords are landlords not because they love the power of being a landlord, but because it helps them meet their own financial needs. Most renters are not, however, as you describe. Most are people who either choose not to own where they live or cannot afford to buy a home. Part of the logic of how we change the situation you describe is to have appropriate housing for those who are not capable or ready to live on their own in the apartments that are available. This supportive housing is actually designed to educate people who have mental health, behavioral or drug dependency issues about how to live independently and healthfully. We also need to have enough housing so that we do not overcrowd the housing that we presently have and create bad living situations just through the density of people living in one space. There will always be people who will try to take advantage of others or are rude or disrespectful. But we cannot build housing policy around that assumption. We need to look clearly at peoples' needs and create the kind of housing that meets them. I found Mr. Lapienski's opinion piece to be ill informed and disrespectful and have written a response which I hope the Recorder will print.