Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Affordable Housing

Citizen's Voice of the Day

"I think it's a great idea for the city to build an affordable housing complex for low-income persons or families. The idea of building taller buildings should be used only for this purpose. The city should own these buildings using the money they already uses to subsidize section 8 housing. For the city to pay $1300 for one months rent for one low-income family is not using the money wisely. To let Swift or other developers in on this would be seen as just another excuse to use the term affordable housing for development which is taking its' toll on our city."

"The wealthy people on this island are helping to pay my rent, my utilities and take care of my family. People bashing the people who are fortunate enough to have worked hard and made a good income shouldn't be penalized for it on this island. This island would be a piece of crap without them."

"Jimmy Weekley and Ed Swift are slithering around the prospect of adhering to our island's critical height restriction in the name of affordable housing. This affordable housing bug-a-boo is merely smoke and mirrors designed to veil the imaginations of developers who have long sought to ruin our island with high-rise hotels and condominiums. We must say no to these land leeches an no to any variance to the height restrictions. Protect our city charter."

There's a lot of news today about "affordable housing". An AP article in the Citizen (print edition only) reports on a study performed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, entitled "Out of Reach". The report says that affordable housing, defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as 30% of monthly income, is simply out of reach for those making the minimum wage. Certainly that is true in Key West, where the minimum wage is currently $6.15 per hour (although minimum wage jobs more typically pay $8-$10 an hour), and fair market value median rents for a one bedroom unit are well in excess of the $767 per month reported for Monroe County as a whole. In fact, it is rare indeed to find a one bedroom unit in Key West for under $1000 a month. More typically, those apartments are in the range of $1200 - $1400 a month.

Referring back to the column by John Dolan-Heitlinger I discussed on Sunday, there is a rebuttal in today's Key West Citizen from another citizen, who labels Dolan-Heitlinger's assumptions as "extreme".

Where is the truth? I wish I knew. For us, we'll stay for as long as we can. We'll pay whatever rent we can afford. When we can't afford it any more we'll be outa here. If you want to live in this particular tropical paradise, you must pay the price. That's how the marketplace works.

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