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Cut by cut, we chip away at future for many kids

It’s easy to imagine that quite a few of the one in four renters who pay more than half their income for housing are at risk of becoming homeless (“Soaring rents puts many families in peril,” Page A1, Dec. 9). Some may be joining the other 4,000 families in Massachusetts who stay in state-funded shelters or motels. Some might spend nights on a relative’s or friend’s couch until the welcome wears thin, or might return to an abusive situation if they have nowhere else to turn.

What is less obvious, according to Children's HealthWatch, are the consequences for families who are behind on their rent because there is not enough money for all their survival expenses. Nutritious food, or even food itself, is often sparse. Children are at risk of delays in development and being below average in height. Mothers have higher levels of depression.

Our society is trading in the future of many of our children through cutbacks in the food stamp program and in housing subsidies, insufficient job-training programs, and proposals to curtail welfare benefits.

I hope that our public officials will decide to put enough resources into helping low-income families have the necessities of life. I feel lucky that my grandchildren have enough food and a warm place to live. Their family has enough money to buy candy for classroom parties or more shampoo when the bottle is almost empty. Their parents can afford to buy them gloves for the winter or pencils to do their homework. All children deserve the same.

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Miriam Stein
Arlington