To the editor:
The board of directors at Family Promise of Lawrence would like to respond to the July 16 editorial, “How Bad Is the Problem?”
The Journal-World writes “the lack of applications for project funding ... might be an indication that affordable housing isn’t the problem city leaders think it is.” This suggestion draws a false causation between the severity of the housing crisis in Lawrence and the number of applications received for trust fund dollars.
According to the editorial, national rankings say the crisis is severe. City studies in 1993 and 2005 confirmed the problem. One in five residents are severely cost burdened, meaning they pay 50 percent or more of their income for housing. To say that the number of applications indicates that the problem is not severe ignores the evidence to the contrary as experienced by the families that need our services. In fact, FPL had 419 unique families call us needing our services in 2016.
We invite the J-W staff to examine the relevant data and reconsider the conclusion that the number of applications somehow diminishes the severity of the problem. Consider instead that it reflects a worsening crisis that for-profit builders are not addressing and nonprofit providers are not yet scaled to handle.
We’ve known about this problem for 25 years, and it is time to take action now.