By Nancy Vincent
The question is: “Who are we building affordable housing for?” The short answer is, “All of us.” Yes, we all benefit from the availability of affordable housing in our communities. When teachers, police officers, nurses, grocery store workers, grocers, and others are able to live near their workplaces, we can see benefits for the environment, local businesses, transportation infrastructure, and healthcare.
Several studies have shown the relationship between affordable housing, transportation and economic development. The Urban Land Institute published a study that assessed “the perception of employers and commuters about the impact of long distances between homes and workplaces on business operations and the quality of life of workers”. Employers pointed to the difficulty of the lack of affordable housing for attracting and retaining workers, and commuters expressed a desire to get closer to work when more affordable housing was available. The state of New Jersey conducted a corporate survey that indicated that residential construction was a factor in business location choices. He found that a lack of affordable housing can put the local economy at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, the New England Public Policy Center suggested that unaffordable housing is linked to slower employment growth.
According to the report by the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, “Housing the Future Area Workforce: Policy Challenges for Local Jurisdictions,” “half a million new workers are commuting from locations outside the region to their jobs, creating unsustainable traffic congestion.” … “.
In addition, the Metropolitan Washington Governing Council argued that “by increasing the supply of affordable housing near employment offices, the region will make progress on three major issues: the scarcity of affordable housing, the congestion of the roads, and the quality of those Air of the region. “In addition, the Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing published a report entitled” Priced Out: Persistence of the Labor Housing Gap in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, “which presented the results of a study of six major employment centers in the metropolitan area, including: Tysons Corner and Alexandria found that all six cores lacked housing options for two-, three-, and four-person households with incomes in the range of 60 to 100 percent of the median area income, a shortfall that forced workers to keep looking for affordable living space from their workplace, which in turn has an impact on commuting times and quality of life.
Then what about someone who grew up in the city, went to college and now wants to live in the city they love? Should a senior living on a steady income be able to afford to stay in the city?
We know that children grow up in the city’s school system who find themselves in unstable living situations and have the potential to seriously influence their educational outcomes. Researchers supported by the MacArthur Foundation report that housing improves children’s academic achievement, decreases criminal involvement, improves parent and child health, increases employment rates, decreases mental illness, and decreases addictive behavior. Can we also imagine the effects on their classmates?
How about someone with a disability that prevents them from earning a high income? People with disabilities find it particularly difficult to find accessible and affordable housing. Disability can adversely affect a person’s earning potential and make it difficult to find suitable accommodation in the community where they grew up or close to their families.
Some may think, “If you can’t afford to live here, move elsewhere.” It’s an option, but at what price? Families, seniors, and individuals who were part of the Falls Church community will be excluded from the market. There are employees of city schools, retail stores, emperors, city government departments, and others who have to travel long distances. Long journeys certainly have an impact on the commuter’s wallet, as the cost of gasoline, vehicle maintenance, tolls and public transport increases. According to a 2012 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that found that the farther people commute, the higher the blood pressure and body mass index, the higher the commuter’s health. Long journeys significantly impair the quality of life for all of us in the region and also have an impact on the environment and stagnation.
The City of Falls Church is a unique jurisdiction whose residents represent the vibrant spectrum of life in Northern Virginia. Let’s keep it that way. Bottom line: let’s all advocate affordable housing. We all benefit from this.