21st Century Housing 

The continued expansion of suburbia and single-family homes is no longer a sustainable housing model. The environmental costs of building new roads and sewer lines and providing the political infrastructure for more and more communities is not feasible. Just look at the largely unplanned growth in and around Dorchester County that has produced traffic gridlock, skyrocketing home prices and rents, and crowded schools. Mass transit has been an afterthought if a thought at all.

 

As a result, we have young families who cannot afford adequate housing. We have a serious homeless population. We have gated communities with million-dollar homes close to mobile home parks and dilapidated housing.

 

We must create public-private-community partnerships to address the housing crisis for young adults, families, seniors, and veterans. The answer lies not in so-called Opportunity Zones that have been sold to the public as a way to develop communities. These are nothing more than a tax dodge for the rich with no reporting requirements or accountability. They are a product of our broken, secretive legislative process.

 

In contrast to such programs, I believe it is possible to leverage the resources of private, industry and the community to bring about significant change in affordable housing and elder care. The key is to put the needs of the community first, and not the needs of investors with capital gains profits they are seeking to offset through the Community Reinvestment act and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits --the same taxes that ought to be going to the common good. I know how this can be done as the President of a Community Development Corporation that has built 112 mixed-use housing units. I’ll work with local and regional institutions and governments to find local and regional housing and transportation solutions.

 

It's essential to re-think how we expand our urban footprint without destroying the environment, while at the same time giving the option to all people to live in safe, affordable neighborhoods.