Thursday, May 27, 2021

It’s Not Enough

So the Howard County Council voted for a budget that does not include the Housing Trust Fund, the one that Bridges to Housing Stability was asking the community to support. In their words:

The Housing Trust Fund will promote and support equitable, geographically disbursed and affordable rental and for-sale housing opportunities; will assist in alleviating the the difficulties of many low- and moderate-income households to obtain and maintain housing; and will meet these needs by providing funding for rental housing development, preservation and rehabilitation, rental assistance, homeownership, home improvements and other affordable housing opportunities.

Their reasoning was not convincing enough to the members of the council who voted to strip it from the budget.

I have a question for those who say they support affordable housing but keep opposing opportunities for the same whenever they arise. Can you please point me towards communities in the US where they are “getting it right” in the way you envision? I have read descriptions of how we shouldn’t do that; we should do this. I have read many of them. 

It’s not enough for me. Show me. Give me concrete examples of cities and towns that are handling affordable housing “your way” and that are succeeding in addressing housing insecurity needs in a meaningful way. To be honest with you, the YIMBY folks are way ahead of you on this. I’m frequently seeing examples of other communities working on transforming housing norms to better serve a wider range of residents. Evidence, evidence, evidence.

Not so with the naysayers. All I see is: 

I’m for affordable housing but this one is wrong. Or,

They should really do it like this.

Show me. Show me places where you think they are doing affordble housing right and I will put on my thinking cap and set my mind to understanding.

What we have now is a group like Bridges to Housing Stability - - with long-time professional experience in serving Howard County citizens overburdened by housing insecurity - - advocating for a Housing Trust Fund, while members of the County Council think they know better.

It’s not enough for me. If your way is the best way, show me where it works.

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