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DENVER-Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale’s running mate on the Democratic ticket in 1984, recently mad a whirlwind visit to Denver, where she advocated for affordable housing. Ferraro was the keynote speaker for Mercy Housing and the Low Income Investment Fund’s Affordable Housing Symposium.

While in Denver, she toured the 106-unit Decatur Place, which the nonprofit Mercy Housing Southwest invested $2.75 million to renovate in 2001. In addition to preserving Section 8 housing –the average annual income of a resident at Decatur is only $6,600–Mercy helps residents further their education, get jobs, and bolster their self-respect.

Ferraro, a long-time advocate for affordable housing, notes that she had toured a number of affordable housing projects in New York City when Andrew M. Cuomo was HUD Secretary during the Clinton administration, but she had never been so impressed as when she visited Decatur Place.

Ferraro says that is tough to convince Congress to fund affordable housing during these times of tax cuts, rising national security costs, and post-war Iraq. Done correctly, affordable housing is expensive, but it will pay long-term dividends, she asserts.

If people grow up in proper housing, they are more likely to become productive citizens and stay out of jail, adding to society rather than detracting from it, she says. But the payoff will be 15 or 20 years down the road, so affordable housing must be considered a long-term investment, Ferraro told about 50 affordable housing advocated attending the workshop.

Following her talk, in a private interview with GlobeSt.com, she said she was feeling fine. Last year, Ferraro revealed she is suffering from a rare blood cancer. Ferraro says she is benefiting from research dollars being spent on cancer. “Investing money in medical research is like investing money in affordable housing– done properly, both can payoff,” she tells GlobeSt.com.

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