Unaffordable Affordable Housing
While there are definitely areas of Berkshire County that need more affordable housing, or at least maintaining the status quo, North Adams is not one of them
. We have well over the 10% state recommended guidelines (13% in 2000 and probably closer to 20% now) as well as woefully deteriorated set of "projects" that either need an infusion of private capital or need to be torn down.
I have become a fan of "mixed income" housing where a certain percentage of units in projects are reserved for those with middle class incomes. The benefits of this approach have a tremendous impact on neighborhoods and schools. Deconcentrating
poverty is where the efforts in places like North Adams should be focused.
With all that in mind, I hope that Ben's bill**
does not take a cookie cutter approach to "preserving" a system that is not serving our city and community well.
With the clock ticking on more than 23,000 affordable housing units -- including units in Pittsfield, North Adams, Dalton, Lee, and Great Barrington -- the state Senate passed a bill this week that would attempt to keep these apartments within the public sphere.
State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing explained that more than one quarter of the state’s 90,000 affordable housing units are in danger of "expiring use." These buildings, some of which were built by private developers in the ‘60s and ‘70s, were built with 25- to 40-year contracts mandating affordable rent. In addition to structural financing, several units have had their rents subsidized by Section 8.
I'd love to hear what our State Senator has to say.
Ben - Consider my comments to be an open forum.
(I am turning off comment moderation for this thread to spur discussion. Play nice. I will delete inappropriate comments.)
**UPDATE - Senator Downing writes to clarify that he did not write the bill, but he supports it. Given his very busy schedule today, he hopes have more specific information tomorrow.
UPDATE II: More information in the post above