In her article "Locking Out the Poor" [Close to Home, Aug. 29], Becky Sherblom wrote: "Perhaps [Prince George's County Executive Wayne] Curry needs to visit Montgomery County, which has spent more than 20 years integrating affordable housing into communities, thereby avoiding the pockets of blight and neglect prevalent inside the Beltway in Prince George's."
As someone who lives in the East Silver Spring community known as Long Branch, I cannot allow Ms. Sherblom to bash Mr. Curry by using Montgomery County as an example of how things ought to be done. Until the Duncan administration took office, there was almost no code enforcement in the Long Branch community. It was, and in many respects remains, a textbook example of a "pocket of blight and neglect," and a rather large pocket at that:
Sixty thousand people are packed into three square miles, nearly 70 percent of the elementary school children receive "free and reduced meals," 65 percent of all housing is apartments, crime is high, income and education are low. School data show that 37 percent of the residents move out every year, replaced by new residents.
I believe in affordable housing and in doing it right, but the way it has been done in this Montgomery County community is nothing for anyone to be proud of.