Basic, affordable housing could fix some problems

Dear editor,

Long ago when I was young and poor, I lived in south Seattle.

Dear editor,

Long ago when I was young and poor, I lived in south Seattle.

My husband was a war veteran, and the government of the time had very inexpensive housing built for veterans.

It was row housing, and we shared a front porch with our neighbours. To the other side of the porch was a small plot of ground where we could plant vegetables.

I doubt if the walls were insulated as we could hear the voices of our neighbours through the thin walls.

There were three rooms: kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom as well as a long, deep closet. The front door opened into the kitchen next to a double sink: one for dishes and a deep one for laundry. There I hand-washed our daughter’s diapers and clothing.

Fortunately, my grandmother lived only a few miles away, and I took the remainder of the clothing to her house by bus to wash it. My grandfather brought me and the laundry home where I could hang it on clotheslines that were available behind the rows of houses.

The apartment was partially furnished. The kitchen had a big oil stove for heat and cooking; and a small table with two chairs. In the living room was the frame of a box spring as another bed or a lounge.

The bedroom had a single bed for the two of us. Fortunately, my husband was a small man.

With the lamentable number of people living on the streets now, I think that something comparable could be built in the Comox Valley and other cities. As it is now, anyone looking for work has no address and no telephone where he/she could be reached if a job turned up.

It is hardly healthy living on the streets, and besides making street people healthier as well as the rest of us, it would lower the costs of health care in Canada generally.

This is a suggestion to all levels of government, and I would like to see all political parties support this idea. We are our brother’s keepers, but we haven’t been doing a good enough job of it heretofore.

Canada has a reputation as a prosperous and caring nation. We should start living up to that reputation.

Betty Gidlof,


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