Readers Write: (April 14): Public housing, college debt burdens, Affordable Care Act, exercise methods

  • Updated: April 11, 2014 - 6:36 PM

Those with criminal records who want to better themselves need our support, too.

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PUBLIC HOUSING

Criminal backgrounds can be a Catch-22

Recent funding has been passed to obtain housing for individuals with disabilities. However, people with felonies or sexual offenses on their records are often barred from obtaining public-housing assistance. As an intern case manager, I see the impact that felonies have on individuals and families. I see society’s concern, but there’s another side to this story.

Currently, it is nearly impossible to obtain housing without an appeal if you have an arrest or a felony on your record. If you have any type of sexual offense, you are further dropped to the bottom of the list or even banned from public housing. As a community member, I find it ironic that we want to prevent crime, yet crime often increases when basic necessities are not accessible to people. I am not saying that we can overlook every prior felony conviction, but that we can build additional supportive housing that will allow these individuals to continue to grow.

I have multiple clients who want to give back to the community, but do not know how, who want support, but lack it, and who want to succeed, but their pasts continue to haunt them.

Nora Hewson-Stech, St. Paul

 

COLLEGE DEBT

My generation? Not slackers, just burdened

“Kids these days, what a lazy generation. Living in the basement of their parents’ homes, minimum-wage jobs with four-year degrees, spoiled.” Is this the stigma with which our generation has been labeled?

The Department of Labor shows that college tuition has experienced the most significant cost increases, more than health care and the consumer price index. At what point does someone step in — whether it is government leaders or the academic deans and presidents — and realize that there are too many post-grads who are in terrible situations of debt?

With the job market as highly competitive as it is today, there is a demand for young adults to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Because of this demand for higher education, employers have an absurd amount of supply to pick from. Our generation is caught not between a rock and a hard place, but between mounting piles of debt and a social stigma that labels them lazy and unambitious.

Danae Overby, Maplewood

 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Another young person gains his own coverage

My son, a 30-year-old musician, has never had health insurance of his own — until last week. He called, excitement in his voice, to say “I got my card!” Meaning that he had persevered (at the last hour, of course) and had gotten enrolled through Obamacare.

“I feel like an actual adult,” he added. At dinner that night, my wife and I felt our own huge sense of relief. We also know that health insurance for our son would never have happened without President Obama’s lead in Washington. It’s that simple. The fierce and continuing opposition to affordable health care — including the new MNsure “hearings” focused on Gov. Mark Dayton — will long be a stain on the Republican Party.

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