This is the third in a series of articles about affordable / workforce and alternative housing, as the title suggests I want to address who really benefits from addressing these issues.
The most obvious of those who would benefit from affordable / workforce and innovative housing are the young men and women just starting their life with very little and have limited funds to build their future with.
The next are seniors who have found themselves either struggling because of medical bills, loss of a loved one, or even having to become the providers for their grandchildren during their retirement years.
Last are those who may have challenges, such as veterans who find it difficult to transition, people who have been homeless and need help to overcome what caused them to be homeless and those who have mental health challenges.
All of these individuals do truly benefit from these kinds of housing and yet what if I suggested that you actually benefit from addressing the housing issues. I’ll try to provide an explanation as to why you and I benefit from supporting affordable / workforce and innovative housing.
Let’s just start with the example of you an average homeowner on an average day.
When you get up in the morning and look at your beautiful house, take a second to look around and ask yourself who built this home?
Yes, the builder is who you contracted with to build it, but did you see that young guy or girl who showed up to work to dig the footer for the foundation, the framer who put the boards together or the electrician who wired your house.
Did you know that we currently struggle to find the skilled workers to do the construction? Not just because we don’t see a lot of young people with the focus on the trades needed, but also because the wages paid may not be what the worker is looking for when thinking about jobs and they need that wage to bale able to afford to live in our community.
Maybe you want to go out to eat breakfast, the smiling wait staff you see are likely earning money on a small wage that is supplemented by your tips and let’s admit that not everyone tips as well as they should.
Don’t forget the cooks, dishwasher, and others in the back who work in hot conditions and are not usually the ones that even get so much as a thank you.
As you drive around you may need a tire change or some other mechanical service and yes you guessed it, they also aren’t banking lots of money from a tire change.
I could go on, but I hope that by now you will start to see things in a way that makes you realize the challenges that many people face, that many jobs don’t pay a great amount.
An aside, you may say well why don’t they just pay them more and the answer is because we as customers are usually looking to spend less not more and that drives the market to keep prices low.
Who also benefits are the builders, who build the house and create the jobs, they have consistently been supportive of affordable / workforce and innovative housing.
The Realtors who sell the homes are actually one of the biggest supporters of addressing this issue, even they see the community connections when it comes to this.
The businesses who deal with the trades that support the community and provide daily service to you also benefit from supporting this kind of housing in the community.
And lastly, it falls back to you the taxpayer.
Affordable / workforce and innovative housing should be supported by every one of us who looks at our taxes and hopes that they won’t go up.
When we look at young families who struggle, they often look at the safety net of welfare (TANF temporary assistance to needy families) and food stamps (SNAP supplemental nutrition assistance program) which are taxpayer-funded programs.
These programs are usually something that people reluctantly turn to for aid when they can’t afford to live in their community. So when we deal with affordable / workforce and innovative housing, we are helping to keep the cost of living within a level that allows for people to pay their own way in life without the assistance of the taxpayers and even helps create more taxpayers who then help contribute.
For the seniors amongst us who have struggled with medical bills and live in less than optimal conditions, their health is directly affected by their living conditions. So as an example those who live in places like Forest Ridge Senior Residence, are living in a community setting, have people who help ensure they live a healthier lifestyle and this reduces the cost to the Medicaid system.
Lastly is the homeless, people with mental health issues and Veterans in need, one of the cost associated with dealing with this category of people is getting them the services.
Because of the ever-increasing cost of providing services, getting to where they are and the cost of housing is a drain on the resources available and even though we see a continuation of increased funding, if the cost outweighs the funding it will seem as if we aren’t providing enough.
But if we find every tool possible to keep the cost down, by helping to keep the cost of housing down and helping get the people in a place where more people can be helped at one time, then the dollars become more effective.
Just imagine having to spend less time to travel, fewer hours by a specialist at various locations and you will see a cost savings to the organizations who provide the services.
I want to stop for a second, because as I’ve addressed the affordable / workforce and innovative housing, I want to make it very clear that this is only a tool to addressing the issues and not the sole answer to all the issues to those who need this kind of help.
But by addressing the reality of the issue, who it helps, how it works and who benefits from it, I only hope to help discuss this issue and as I’ve told so many, I can’t say I’m pro-business without also addressing challenges in our community.
I hope this series of articles has helped to better inform you, to challenge past stigmatism that people have had and also to ask something of you.
I usually end my articles by stating that the article is just a conversation and yet this time I’m asking for your help.
Call our excellent State Legislative Delegation, Senator Wilton Simpson 850-487-5010 and Representative Ralph Massullo (850) 717-5034and ask them to support bills like those that are currently filed such as SB13 28 and HB987.
Last is to call our Administration 352-341-6560, as we are currently working to change our land development code and let them know that the issue of Affordable / workforce and innovative housing should be a priority in future land development code changes.
This is your community, the people you depend on and leaders need to know how you feel.