5.20.2008

HOW TO MAKE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

If you know me, you know I'm aware that government's best intentions don't always go the right way. And so it is with affordable housing mandates like the one being proposed in City Council. My firm wrote a report on behalf of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia analyzing the bill in its present form. You can find it here.

Builders and affordable housing advocates don't always have to be on opposite sides of the table. On the other side of the river, they were often found on the same side, advocating for offsetting incentives so that stuff got built - market rate and affordable units - and people in need got the units they needed, and the cost was spread out over the entire taxpaying populace, as it should be if you believe that the provision of affordable housing is a public interest that should be paid for broadly and not borne by a small subset of the whole.

Far from being a threat to the local building industry, in the midst of an already bleak season, this discussion could lead to some really revolutionary changes. After all, Philadelphia has suffered under decades of structural impediments to a healthy real estate market. This stormy time could mark the beginning of a new day, if we use the opportunity to fix some things and make it right for everyone. Let's hope so.
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