Housing should be for everyone

Upon reading M. Lai’s letter, “Housing should be for owners,” published in the March 30 Jamaica Plain Gazette, I found myself rather perplexed and considerably offended by the implication that there is a direct correlation between subsidized rental property (though, according to Lai’s logic, not subsidized for-sale property) and crime.

As a resident of the Forest Hills section of JP, I certainly share the sentiment that it is essential we continue to make progress in forging a beautiful, safe community with a real sense of solidarity. What I resist is the quiet suggestion that those who cannot afford to own and instead elect to rent property in our neighborhood are more likely to add to the “negative activity” of “flagrant loitering, drinking” and other bad behavior that serves to “put a damper on the Forest Hills and Jamaica Plain experience.” This is nothing more than unfounded class prejudice.

Owning a home—even under the dubious title of “subsidized”—is no doubt a struggle for many citizens of Jamaica Plain and the greater Boston area. What makes this neighborhood a unique and wonderful community is the eclectic make-up of our population. To my sentiment, “the JP experience” is one of tolerance, diversity and acceptance—truly the antithesis of an environment that would seek to systematically exclude mixed-income rental accommodations. We all have a place here and, simply put, housing should be for everyone.

Alex Straaik
Forest Hills, Jamaica Plain

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