Don’t look down on Amherst’s renters
To the editor:
As someone who grew up in Amherst like generations of my family, returned to live there a year ago and is now looking to purchase a home, I’m very offended by some of the debate surrounding rental properties in the town.
What particularly struck a nerve for me was a Nov. 28 Gazette article quoting a town meeting representative saying, “the reality on the ground is that in Amherst rentals means student rentals.” This is a patently false statement as well as being denigrating to all students and renters in the area.
Amherst is not affordable, but it has many wonderful qualities, which is why people try to move there. I cannot afford to purchase a home in Amherst and I’m not the first in my family to confront this problem after living in rented properties in the town for decades: both my mother and grandmother had to move out of town when they couldn’t find homes in their price range but wanted the freedom of homeownership. Renting is the only way some of us can live in Amherst and I won’t apologize for being a renter — which shouldn’t be used as a derogatory term, but increasingly that seems to be the case.
It makes me angry and sad to know my neighbors may not want me around just because my income is not substantial enough to own my home.
I am proud to serve Amherst as a Conservation Commission member — and I know other people who rent who serve the town on various committees and even in Town Meeting — but the negativity and stereotyping by some town residents makes me question my decision and I imagine it may cause others in similar positions to do the same.