The working definition of affordable housing has been redefined at the expense of individuals and families who are not high wage earners.
Cobb has long pursued strategies to eliminate low- and middle-income housing and apartment communities in favor of high-end housing developments and economic districts. This has resulted in a lack of affordable housing options in the county for service workers, new teachers and other professionals just beginning their careers.
If developers and elected officials continue to pursue strategies that some characterize as economic cleansing Cobb’s reputation will suffer while they proudly beat their collective chests across the state and elsewhere over our “high quality” of living.
We see all over the world how decent and affordable shelter is intricately woven into better opportunities for children and their parents. Affordable housing provides families better health, more financial freedom, independence and a stability and security that far too many families simply can’t achieve. The need for affordable housing is immense, and the lasting impact it can have on homeowners, their families and the wider community is undeniable.
In addition to providing housing that meets the needs of individuals and families with low-to-moderate incomes, affordable housing developments can be used as a community revitalization tool, especially when units are built on scattered sites throughout the community.
There are significant benefits to both residents and communities when to using a scattered site model. These include:
♦ Homes are blended into the existing neighborhood
♦ Avoids concentrating low-income communities
♦ Benefits all residents of the development and surrounding communities
A series of “unity parks” in each of Cobb’s districts would consist of projects developed with a combination of single and multiple family units of population size to be determined. They can consist of both rentals and for sale properties with pricing set to the median family income. (United States is $75,500 in FY 2019)
Some Unity Parks can be owned and managed by a nonprofit housing organization while others by developers depending on the neighborhood, market conditions, access to transportation, etc.
Decent, affordable housing is important to families and to the overall county quality of life. Decent, affordable housing reduces social stress and school overcrowding, and leads to improvement in both physical and mental health. Affordable housing also frees up funds within families’ tight budgets to spend on health care and food.