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When I read the recent article on Bozeman’s affordable housing crisis, I didn’t know whether to be angry, sad or grateful. Truthfully, it was probably all those things. I’m angry because the middle and lower class get continually screwed.

I’m sad because there are so many who deserve a chance at owning a home and will never get it and grateful because somehow, I have ended up as one of the lucky ones and own a home here. I have an undergrad and graduate degree from Gonzaga University. My annual salary is below $50,000 as a school counselor in the Belgrade School District. I absolutely could not afford to live in Gallatin County without my spouse’s significantly higher pay check.

I have brothers who are working six days a week to live here and have college degrees. They will never be able to afford a $575,000 home. I have colleagues who are incredibly dedicated (here an hour before the day starts and well after when it ends). They also take on second jobs in the summer and want to buy their first home. However, right now, that’s completely out of the question.

We don’t get to wash our hands and simply say because it doesn’t directly affect us, it isn’t our problem. We do that, we lose our humanity. The truth is affordable housing does affect you. We need to provide housing for those who fuel our economy (emergency responders, educators, builders, etc.). Affordable housing is the foundation for our flourishing community and if we don’t realize that, we don’t deserve it. Support local initiatives and when it comes time to vote, choose the candidates that will encourage and fight for affordable housing in Congress.

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Lindsey Ross