Explore “housing investment zones” as one solution to our pending housing crisis| Cliff Thaell
In our travels across the globe, I’ve reaffirmed my belief that the United States is the one place that affords the best standard of living for the greatest number of people. Home ownership has always been the ladder to upward mobility. But, in Tallahassee and elsewhere, the paucity of low to moderately priced housing has become a central issue. Nary a week goes by that either my wife or I do not get a cell phone call from someone offering to buy our home. No thanks, we say, and have a nice day.
Investment companies gobble up low to medium priced housing like PacMan scarfing up those little doodles. This is a dilemma we can solve. As a community, we can set a standard that still allows these companies to purchase investment properties but still establish limits to where and how much housing they can acquire.
With the creation of moderately priced housing zones, lower and medium-income families can buy homes they can finally afford. Wouldn’t it be possible for our local governments to create “housing investment zones” reserving building sites and existing homes scattered across the county for folks who are considered housing challenged?
So many younger families just starting out now can no longer pierce the homeownership strata.
As one of those families too many years ago, we were able to buy some land and build our own home. At that time, we were just coming up, a two-income family with a bunch of kids. The thought of never owning our own home was inconceivable.
Perhaps we could call this approach “inclusive community design”. Builders, developers and investors would still stand to make a lot of money while still reckoning with the reality that not everyone has had the same opportunities.
Cliff Thaell is a former Leon County Commissioner at-Large serving from 1994-2010.
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