Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Why Is Affordable Housing Right for Key West?

I keep reading in the Citizen's Voice, an anonymous rant column in a local paper, someone(s) calling in saying that affordable housing isn't and shouldn't be a right, as in the Bill of Rights. And for the most part, I agree. One shouldn't expect to buy a property in Beverly Hills for something "affordable". And in reality, Beverly Hills does not need affordable housing. Nearby are plenty of communites for the necessary workers to commute from.

So why should affordable housing be something our Key West government cares about?

To me, there are more than a few good reasons, but I want to point out an often-overlooked one:
It is a right to have our government run wisely.

And this is where the anonymous Citizen's Voice contributor is not understanding the problem.

The City of Key West requires a lot of personel to run properly. I won't go into a full list, but there are police, firefighters, building department, code enforcement, liscensing dept, road crews, electrical crews, technicians, and countless others. Hundreds of people.

These people need places to live in. Homes. And these places need to be affordable.

Without affordable housing built, the city will have to raise taxes to a multiple of what they are now to pay their workers enough to buy a million dollar house. Can you imagine how much the tax bill would be if the police, fire dept., and the rest of the city workers have to pay for a million dollar mortgage. Nearly no one would want to live here. This puts the city at risk of becoming financially unstable.

So, my point is that I don't care if you don't think affordable housing should be a right. But the city must have a finanically sound plan. Being an island too far from the mainland to bus in our city staff, affordable housing is a requirment of smart planning in Key West.

And that is why it is my sincerest hope that the City of Key West gets around to actually building affordable housing. Our city's future depends upon it.
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