I must protest the language used by Kath Schulz in her letter to the editor about affordable housing on July 24 [Worried about thugs in affordable housing, Viewpoints, July 25]. How can we be diverse if we limit Oak Park to “like-minded” people? Why characterize people living in affordable housing as “thugs” who will not treat others with respect? If the number of people living in a unit is higher than Ms. Schulz thinks it should be, what gives her the right to make that choice?
She says she doesn’t want to subsidize families while she struggles to support herself. She presumes that people who qualify for affordable housing don’t work hard. In my experience, the opposite is true: they often work multiple low-wage jobs and devote the few spare hours they have to trying to improve their families’ lives.
Her letter could easily be read as coded language saying that families who aren’t two-parent white households aren’t welcome in Oak Park. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our white, two-parent family moved to Oak Park nearly 20 years ago so we could live in community with people and families of all configurations and income levels.
Some of my neighbors struggle to make ends meet and their children benefited from our great schools and are now in college, on their way to successful careers. I have learned so much from people who are not like me, especially about my innate prejudices and myopic thinking. That opportunity to grow is what makes Oak Park great.
An affordable housing complex is being built just a few blocks from me, and I look forward to welcoming my new neighbors.