If not us?
The time is now
You may have heard that there’s an affordable housing crisis in this country. (Around the world, too, but let’s focus on the home front.)
This week more than 400 Habitat for Humanity staff, volunteers and partner families descended on Congress (politely) to press the case for more funding and policies to promote affordable homeownership.
It was my first professional visit to the “People’s House” and it was a powerfully moving experience for this jaded NYer. It was gratifying that those we met with listened intently and exchanged ideas honestly.
Let’s put this in simple and stark terms:
If we don’t find places for our average and lower wage workers to live, our communities will wither and die. (You may not notice until you can’t get your latte, or your car serviced, or your kid taught, or your blood drawn.)
NY keeps losing population. With devastating consequences.
There are more jobs available than homes for workers. But that will not last; companies thinking of coming or expanding here won’t if they can’t find workers.
The Hudson Valley is especially cost-prohibitive. Rising home prices, punishing property taxes and restrictive zoning have essentially shut our entire classes of workers from the housing market.
People of color have always struggled against this stacked deck; now the inequity has broken through those bounds and is getting more attention. (I’ll just leave that there.)
New York has the lowest homeownership rate in the country. Despite its concentrations of vast wealth.
It’s time to change this exclusionary and inequitable equation.
It’s time to build again. We are ready to do our part, and create new basic, efficient and sustainable starter homes. It’s time for a housing revolution.
Join your local Habitat affiliate in promoting and creating more community-supported construction. Call your congressional representatives; talk to your town council; lobby your local officials.
We can make change, by working together to demand it.
For the people.
“If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?”- John Lewis
Thank you, Al, for this important work you're doing. Yes we need a Housing Revolution! Let's Go!