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Suburbanites can help the city

Your October 12 issue was the first I'd heard that Mayor Warren is trying to get state legislators to keep people out of jail by allowing payment options similar to those available to suburbanites for traffic violations.

Next time, get suburbanites involved.

We in the suburbs are concerned about and affected by poverty in the city. We can urge our legislators to insist votes be held. We can urge them to rally fellow legislators to halt the craziness described in NPR's Fresh Air program, "Is America Engaged in a 'Vicious Circle' of Jailing the Poor?"

Listeners learned that 30 percent of people in Oklahoma City's jail are there for traffic violations such as a broken tail light. Jails charge inmates fees for room and board, lab tests, public defender applications, and more. Those with jobs lose them because they cannot pay the fees to get out of jail.

Without a payment options plan, Rochester is likely no better than Oklahoma City.

There's power in numbers. Plan to include suburbanites in the loop to get this legislation passed.


Rental practices hurt the poor

As I have been contemplating where I am going to live and how that is going to happen, I realized that there is some real rental bullshit going down with public subsidized housing in this city. I called the Housing Council, who bumped me off to the Housing Authority, where I left a message. I spoke to someone at Eldersource, who is looking into the issue. I have sent emails to Empire Justice Center and Monroe County Housing Authority.

I am a 56-year-old woman who qualifies for senior housing. I am on DSS while I wait for an SSI hearing, which is 1.5 years off. I have applied for senior subsidized housing, which advertises that they accept DSS. Yet when I apply, I'm told I do not qualify as my DSS budget is $756 and their rental rule is $800, even for a $300-400 studio.

I have applied at Charlotte Harbortown Homes and Midtown Manor, with the same result. I think it is unfair that rental places such as these are using a 30 percent income rule on people who have no income and are approved by the department of housing. It is also dishonest to say that they accept DSS for single occupants when they clearly do not.

I am notifying everyone I can think of about this deplorable loophole devised to further abuse the poor and deny us reasonable housing.

I have been a taxpayer since I was 15 years old and have been renting living spaces since I was 17. I have references for being a clean, quiet, and respectful tenant. And yet at 56 years old, I am sleeping at friends' houses because I cannot find a decent place to live.

The least I can do for us all is blow the whistle and make the city aware of what their rental "standard" is doing to the poor.