There have been several articles lately in your newspaper about affordable housing. As a former disposition specialist for HUD I think I have some qualifications to speak on the subject. One of the articles stated that government codes and restrictions make it unprofitable for builders to build affordable housing. I think that is very true. I also think with some common sense this could be turned around.

Several years ago the administrator of the Farmers Home Loan Administration (he is now deceased and I can't get him to corroborate) told me that he designed affordable housing for migrant workers. Homes were built on a concrete slab, and the walls were cinder blocks painted inside and out. They would be virtually fireproof, and he said he was chided when he said that when the house was trashed (as they often are) they could be washed out with a fire hose.I don't know why that was taken as being insensitive, but I have seen trashed houses that it would have been nice if they could have been cleansed with a fire hose. It is possible to build safe comfortable, affordable homes if the code writers would be reasonable.

While I was still at HUD, we had a showcase of affordable homes out near the Valley Fair Mall. They were lovely little homes. A year later, I couldn't believe the damage that had been done to some of them. I'm sure that today many people are still living in them and taking good care of them.

We do need affordable homes that are practically indestructible for the few who don't know how to take care of a home, and they can be built with a minimum of cost. They shouldn't all be located in one place either.

Too much misery in one place is counterproductive, but good neighbors can help and encourage people to keep their properties clean and in good repair.

Hyrum J. Smith