I want to commend City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke for his efforts to restore funds to the city's Housing Trust Fund ("Give them shelter," Tuesday). His proposal to divert some of the mortgage-registration fee into the fund is a painless way to help more lower-wage families live in homes they can afford.

Clarke's proposal comes at a time when a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia shows that low-income citizens not only have the most difficult time finding homes they can afford, but when they do find a suitable home, many pay more than half of their income in rent.

The mayor and City Council had good intentions last year when they approved a plan to add $3 million to the trust fund to help families stay in their homes. But going from a $3 million commitment to zero is too deep a cut to this important program. Clarke's plan, which could potentially add $2 million to the fund, is a wise compromise that we hope wins the day.

Liz Hersh

Executive director, Housing Alliance of Pa.