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Reader's View: All in Duluth deserve an affordable place to live

Increasing homelessness is a national trend.

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This is in response to the July 12 “Local View” commentary in the News Tribune, headlined, “Duluth’s focus on homelessness snubs locals, shortchanges economic development.

As the deacon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Duluth, I take calls from people needing help. Some have major barriers to employment and struggle to get care needed to gain stability. Others have experienced income loss, some related to a health crisis, or COVID-19 shutdown. All deserve a place to call home.

Most are working and can’t find affordable housing. One landlord told me that if you don’t have a credit rating of 650 to 700, you need a cosigner on your application. Imagine the impact of that on all the people who have been frontline workers in our restaurants and hotels or young people working entry-level jobs. Don’t they deserve an affordable place to live?

Increasing homelessness is a national trend. Of the 64% of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, 48% make more than $100,000 a year, according to the June 8 US News & World Report. These are our neighbors, our family members, our friends, and residents of our community. Affordable housing is a factor in attracting employees to local businesses.

Visit SteppingOnUpDuluth.org to explore a plan for affordable housing. Shop local businesses and enjoy what they have to offer. City Hall can help you create a rental unit. I’m putting my savings to work for the good of my community while also generating a monthly income. Be creative. Working together, our future will offer a vibrant and wonderful place for everyone to live.

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The Rev. Deacon Patricia Benson

Duluth

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