First, I would like to compliment our newspaper, The Reflector, for covering so many important issues in our local area. I have been their fan for over five years now. As I was reading through last week’s issue, I was drawn to article titles such as “Traffic cameras under consideration in B.G.,” “Pleasant Valley School’s spirit lives on through wood carving” and “Crabbers must be accountable for their share of the harvest.” As important as these articles are, I wish I would see more people with letters to the editor on how the senior communities and others are being gouged. Senior mobile home parks and senior apartment rent is increasing at an alarming record pace. For years, Washington homeowners — especially seniors — have been fighting for some type of rent control. Investment groups have bought up senior mobile home parks and senior apartments. With them, it seems profit is what it’s all about. I have lived in my senior mobile home for five years and have seen on average a 10% increase each year. All of us are feeling the crunch with inflation. The poor seniors on fixed incomes are suffering the most. It’s getting to the point where they have to either pay their rent or buy groceries. It’s not right. Rep. Alex Ramel, Washington state representative, 40th Legislative District, sent out a letter that stated: “For those who have shared their housing struggles with me this summer, thank you for being vulnerable and candid in your experiences. I’ve heard from residents of manufactured home parks who are experiencing housing instability because of ballooning rents and the sale of their parks. Outside of our community, an investigation has revealed a growing threat of displacement as investors purchase and centralize these communities. Some of our neighbors even shared 50% rent increases, and situations where landlords fail to meet basic maintenance obligations. Ultimately, this makes one of the most affordable forms of housing less and less accessible and can force individuals into homelessness. We know that for every $100 rent increases, homelessness rates go up by 9% in an area. The US Census estimates that over the last six months, there have been half a million Washingtonians displaced because of rental rate increases. Renters are hurting and so are small rental property owners. That is why we need to move on rent stabilization now and bring some balance to the housing market.”
Instead of building more housing for our homelessness problem, which is important, let’s do something to stop the bleeding, especially for our fixed-income seniors. It seems these investment groups that turn a blind eye to the plight of low- or fixed-income persons forget “someday they too will be seniors.” When it comes time to vote, please people, help the helpless. God bless America.