July 17, 2006

Who is this guy talking about affordable housing?

Affordable housing? Why do we need that? Isn't the ideal situation a subdivision of 6000 square foot mansions with a shopping mall nearby? Some punk from Dryden disagrees in this morning's Journal:

Tompkins County is full of people who say it's important to support neighborhoods, families, schools, churches and organizations. Housing is key to all of these local issues. Everyone benefits when people can focus on their children and their community instead of scrambling to make the next rent check or preparing for their fifth move in a many years.

Everyone can also help out. Housing isn't an arcane issue that only policy wonks can ever hope to understand. We can help create affordable housing - for ourselves for now, for others later - by improving energy efficiency where we live, lowering future costs. We can help create affordable housing by connecting with neighbors to talk about needs and ways to meet them. We can also help to create affordable housing by encouraging local government to plan land use and infrastructure wisely, and by supporting state and federal initiatives to put those plans into action.

If our efforts together ensure an available supply of affordable housing managed by owners with an interest in more than the next check, we can move on to more exciting questions, like what newly stable neighborhoods can do to celebrate. It's not just about improving property values in one area for a few years, but about improving the value of living in this county for a long time to come.

Housing is a cornerstone for everything else we hope to accomplish in this town and county, and it needs to be broadly available without creating enormous stresses on individuals and communities.

There's also a notice in the print edition for the upcoming 4-H Acres Youth Fair.

Posted by simon at July 17, 2006 12:30 PM in
Note on photos


I am not sure what action can
be taken. Most people don't build houses - most people choose from what is available, I think. what organizations work on getting affordable housing built?

KAZ said:

Nice job on a tough issue.

There are a lot of things we can do.

First, and most appealing to self-interest, we can look at our own homes (if we own them) and find ways to reduce their costs. Utilities are often higher than they need to be because of an old furnace, ancient, fridge, etc. Reducing those costs is good for you and for whoever buys your house in the future.

That's a very slow process, so what else can we do?

Better Housing for Tompkins County has a list of ways to help them make this work - it's not just asking for money.

Habitat for Humanity, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, and church workgroup options are other good direct choices.

Finally, there's the political side of all of this - making it clear to legislators, town boards, and others that we need a housing base that matching the diverse needs of the people who live and work here. It's not a matter of attracting more people - it's a matter of doing well by the people who are already here.

Mary Ann said:

Nice job, Simon. Tompkins County has long had a rosy employment outlook that keeps pressure on real estate prices even when national trends level out. Improving energy efficiency is a great way to invest in the value of your home while actually decreasing cost-of-living.

An alarming trend in the Town of Dryden, and beyond, is increasing square footage of homes together with the decreasing number of people per household. We don't anticipate an increase in population in Dryden in the coming decade. But we do anticipate increased demand for housing for one and two person households. Instead of adding on that extra bedroom or family room, consider a detached cottage that can serve as a guest house, or home office or elder cottage.

Dave said:

Ok, raise your hand if you have more than 1 extra guest room in your house. If you can handle giving up privacy, you can almost instantly make your house more efficient with a renter.

Can I put my hand down now?