Thoughts on Affordable Housing
MarketPlace.org article published a three part series called 'Finding Affordable Housing'. The articles were written by Krissy Clark. (You can read it HERE). They are well worth the read.
Increasingly, many employees - essential to the success of a business - are no longer able to find affordable housing within reasonable proximity to their place of work. This trend is being replicated all around the country, not merely in Marin County, CA.
Some large corporations are refusing to relocate to certain cities that have not provided adequate, inexpensive housing for the workforce their company would require. One city administrator recently mentioned to me that this insane, short-sighted economic shift would create cities where the rich would no longer be able to find anyone to serve them coffee, never mind do the labor that would sustain upper class wealth.
We are all in this together. The CEO of a fast food franchise is dependent upon the person who flips their burgers. If their minimum wage worker can't afford to live near the franchise, the CEO will either have to flip his own burgers, build robots to do all the work, raise salaries commensurate to the local standard of living, or put pressure on city leaders to provide adequate housing for their low wage employees.
Purchasing a home is out of reach for many American workers. Adding insult to injury is that rents are also increasing to levels unaffordable for many in our labor force. There is a point of diminishing returns as workers seek affordable housing further and further away from where they work. Rapid transit from distant locations would be helpful, but few cities seem sufficiently motivated to finance that option. City ordinances and HOA rules that increasingly limit the number of people who may live in one house short-circuits another avenue that was previously available to low wage earners.
Where is all this headed? Will our cities and corporations ever choose to work together for the benefit of all citizens, or will they continue to pursue short-term gains with willful blindness to the obvious outcome?