The New Definition of Affordable Housing

I don't think that word means what you think it means

-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride, 1987.

Yes, after Amesbury and Newburyport and dozens of other communities smarted from large rental complexes that ended up becoming dilapidated; the result was a new measure from the social engineers to write into law affordable housing through 40B’s.

Basically, developers would create massive housing complexes that would bypass local zoning, even exceed water and sewer systems; as long as they designated 25% of their units to ‘affordable housing’.

But these were not rentals!         The idea was to use a complicated formula to calculate the ‘price’ of a unit that would be significantly less than the going market in a specific community.       Long waiting lists would be assembled; but the applicant still had to prove they were employed, and could secure financing.    The result was a BIG loop hole for many a developer who actually owned their project, if not enough eligible applicants could be found; they could happily  convert the affordable units into full market pricing.

But now, under the 40R’s; the term ‘Affordable Units’ are now being applied to rentals.

Oh sure, some could be made into condominiums later; and sure – we could try to reduce the amount of ‘subsidized housing’ but there will be subsidized housing, I assure you.

Again, we will be back; very shortly with the same situation.

I rented the first seven years I have lived here.      I know the renter/landlord relationship.     Yes, you’ll have good renters and great landlords; but basically it goes like this,

“The renter wants to pay the minimal for his place because it is not his place; the landlord wants to pay the least in maintenance always to seek a profit at some level.”

That’s why, by and large, you’ll see a rental house has aluminum siding – it’s minimal in maintenance.       Aluminum siding screams ‘rental unit’ and if you put it on your house, you can take your equity and flush it down the toilet.    But it does make sense if you own it as a landlord.

Now if you own property, you want to make sure you build up equity in that building and try to increase your property value.      That is why buying a house is such a good deal.        And the natural thing is to try to ‘improve’ the amount of equity by putting in enhancements (which powers our local craftsmen) and take care of it (those wonderful craftsmen needed again) to preserve your investment.

But now, the door is wide open.       Remember, the purpose of 40R is to encourage housing for low to moderate income residents.      So the term, “AFFORDABLE HOUSING” has been changed.     Mostly in the hopes that a public busy with their own affairs, won’t notice the definition change, especially as the painful memories of past housing disasters become distant memories.

Listen, you ‘guilt-ridden’ white, elitists.    I worked for two-years in inner city Lawrence with the poorest of the poor.     The people (the city is actually an incredible mix of minorities) aspire to achieve, just like us.       They want to climb the ladder just like the rest of us.    Most want to work very hard and do what it takes to get to the top.  Right at the top of that ladder is Newburyport.

All you are doing by destroying our high quality of life along with other fine communities is removing the less fortunate’s incentive to achieve success in America.

Pushing for this 40R to be mostly rental, should make  you feel really guilty!

-P. Preservationist

This entry was posted in Affordable Housing, Developers, Environment, Health and wellness, History, Maintenance, News and politics, Quality of Life, Zoning. Bookmark the permalink.

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