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Ellen Agard: Caring community should work to increase affordable housing

To the editor:

As a neonatal nurse, I was quite disturbed by the article on the eviction of Section 8 families from the Echo Village complex in Amherst (“A broken community: Turmoil continues for evicted Echo Village tenants,” Aug. 10-11). While we do not know exact cause and effect, we do know that women with the “advantages” of stable housing, good nutrition and good health care tend to have healthy babies.

Women who lack these basic necessities experience great stress, and are at risk for birth complications, including prematurity.

Furthermore, after the birth of any baby, premature or not, mothers need to be able to take their babies home, to a safe and stable environment. As a society, we spend many thousands of dollars caring for fragile, sick, premature newborns.

The least we can do is be assured that they have a home to go to when they leave the hospital.

So, how much do we care about babies and families, as a society, as a town, as property owners?

Is there any civic responsibility towards long-term, stable tenants when a property is sold? Is there any civic responsibility to maintain or increase the stock of affordable housing?

It seems to me that the answer ought to be “Yes.”

Ellen Agard

South Hadley

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