EDITOR: Recent discussion regarding Madison’s Affordable Housing requirement have focused a lot on the legal aspects of that obligation, as well as the practical and thoughtful steps Madison is taking to fulfill it; visit the Affordable Housing page. It is important for us to recognize that these laws are in place for very good reasons; in fact, they are fundamental to the growth and success of communities such as Madison over the long term.
There is no relationship between a person’s value to a community and their wallet. Our ability to provide safety and security for families is table stakes to Madison remaining a highly desired and productive place to live. Here are just three of the critical benefits affordable housing offers, according to The National Low Income Housing Coalition:
• Success for our children: Kids who live in an affordable home are more likely to stay in school and obtain better paying jobs; those in un-affordable homes are at greater risk of behavioral health issues and dropping out of school;
• Better health: Affordable housing allows families to spend five times more on healthcare and three times more on nutritious food;
• Safer environments: Stable housing improves people’s ability to manage chronic illnesses, protects kids from environmental hazards, and offers accessible living options to those who require accommodations for mobility issues.
Many of us who live in Madison recognize the employment opportunities related to living here, including our proximity to New York City. Providing people with a short commute significantly reduces stress and gives them time to invest in their families and their own well-being. This brings a collective benefit not only to Madison, but to the communities around us by giving people the ability, through this additional time, to contribute to the area in many other ways.
Affordable housing is not a handout. It needs to be thought of as a strategic decision to invest in the things that will continue to make our town a thriving community based on a rich network of human resources. Communities that find ways to incorporate more affordable housing options for residents now are creating an engine of opportunity that is far beyond what we can imagine.
Read this letter on the Madison Eagle.