Letter: Undocumented to blame for housing | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Undocumented to blame for housing

The PI is always on board to discuss “affordable housing.”

Glenwood Springs and the entire Roaring Fork Valley “suffers” from an affordable housing shortage. The real reason behind all of this is the multitudes of undocumented workers, or the UW. Landlords and business owners have figured out the cost benefits of the UW as follows: The UW doesn’t mind living 5-plus to a one-bedroom apartment. Their new living situation is way better than where they came from. The UW doesn’t mind getting a lower wage. Their new wage is way better than where they came from. Finally, since there are so many UWs, they can easily gobble up all lower-rent housing, since splitting the rent 5-plus ways is way more affordable per-person than say, and school teacher and spouse.

Landlords raise rents because they can — thanks to the UW. Business owners pay very low wages because they can — thanks to the UW.

Yet here “we” are — the non-UW, non-landlord and non-business owner — wondering why wages have been stagnant for the last 20 years. Wondering why there is no affordable housing for an individual or couple. Wondering why our “leaders” are suggesting that “we” get taxed in order to help build more “affordable” living units (which will just be gobbled up by more and more UWs). “We” already got taxed to build bigger schools, which are full of UW’s kids. I guess “we” need to pay even more.

Maybe if we stop these practices, a lot of the problems in this valley would disappear, such as the “affordable housing crisis” along with stagnant wages.

How could this be accomplished? One method might be to impose heavy fines on the “enablers” — you know, the landlords and businesses that turn their back on the law and enable the UW. Create “bounty hunter” jobs (with no new taxes) to visit businesses and rentals — and set fines of $1,000 per head for each UW. Give the bounty hunter a decent percentage of the fine, and use the rest to send the UW back since they broke the law. Bounty hunters could then revisit enablers week after week, with fines doubling on the enablers for each offense.

Now there will be a group of people saying “How could you do that to the UW?” They chose to break the law. Therefore they are criminals. If someone steals from City Market or robs a pot shop, we react, because obviously they broke the law. So how is it any different if someone comes into our county by breaking the law? They are criminals too. Period.

If they came here legally, wanted to be an American and went through the process, then I would have no issues whatsoever.

If we took action, affordable housing would become available and higher wages would be realized due to the simple rule of supply and demand. Housing supply would go up, meaning lower rents (aka “affordable” housing). More job openings and stiffer competition would produce higher wages. And all of this accomplished without any taxes — just fines on enablers.

Finally — and totally off-topic — it is a complete joke that the city stripped the number of required parking spaces for the proposed “affordable” housing complex where the Bayou used to be to make it even more “affordable.” Barf. Many of the “affordable” units will be occupied by 5-plus UWs, and each one will have a car. Unbelievable. Part of City Council (who cannot vote) are trying to build it. Just guess the outcome — I dare you. Better yet, who in council will benefit? Who in GWS will benefit? Get the picture?

Dave Heyliger

Glenwood Springs

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