ASHLAND – Name something everyone always talks about, but never does anything about.
I’ll start- lose weight, exercise more, eat better, and every politician’s favorite, build more affordable housing.
There were BILLIONS of dollars allocated last year from the American Recovery Act funds. How many new affordable housing projects are under construction in your area? I’m guessing zero!
I have had the honor of being a Massachusetts Housing Commissioner for a decade. I have had the opportunity to see the good and the bad of how it works in the Commonwealth. I’m glad to report there is more good, than bad. Yet, the inventory is low, getting worn out and past it’s effective shelf life in many cases. I weekly get phone calls from desperate individuals looking for advice, information and how to navigate the dreaded waiting lists. Changes in years past have complicated the housing directors already daunting job with the waiting lists. Immediate reform and improved processes are needed on this issue.
So why hasn’t more affordable housing been built? It’s easy, lack of leadership.
There are very few leaders out today that want to combat “NIMBY.” “Not In My Back Yard” is unfortunately a bipartisan disposition. Yet, affordable housing is not what most people think. Is your first thought always Section 8 housing? Well, that’s wrong. Affordable Housing builds better communities. Having homes in your town that firefighters, police, teachers and low-income seniors and those with special needs or require accommodations can afford is the American Dream. Remember that?
Record high inflation, supply chain issues, political upheaval are here to stay, yet the lack of housing continues to grow and is at a breaking point. It’s time for a leader to step up in Massachusetts and address this issue. I’m here to help and more importantly here to start calling out those who continue to do nothing, but talk.