Housing and living costs have skyrocketed across the district, forcing many to leave their hometowns. It is a crisis with a considerable amount of consequences, one of which is exemplified by the budgetary issues, and staffing concerns the Sandwich School District currently faces. As the younger generation leaves for more affordable pastures, the town’s residential and commercial bases suffer, along with the schools.
The lack of affordable and workforce housing is not a new problem. Consider that renter’s income has only increased by about 5% while housing costs have increased by 61% since 1960. Housing costs are exceeding 30% of household income and becoming burdensome. Currently, Massachusetts has a Housing Stabilization Fund that helps with the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental properties. The funds are used by developers, municipalities, and housing authorities for investment in affordable housing. This is a step forward. However, this is not addressing the cost directly. Housing assistance is chronically underfunded, and it is clear we have a critical issue that can no longer wait to be addressed. There is a housing crisis in Massachusetts.
When I think of housing stabilization, I do not immediately think of stabilization in development. It is more. I think of the senior living on fixed income, the young couple starting out, the family working multiple jobs to make ends meet, or the single parent hoping their check comes in time to avoid eviction. The time for action and leadership is now. We need Representatives and Senators that put the communities in the Commonwealth first!
I will work to ensure collaboration between state and local entities as one of many essential components to solving the problem. We need to proactively invest in affordable housing. Investment in assistance, trusts, projects, and funds are essential. Creating projects that provide easy access to essential amenities to lift up and strengthen our communities is essential. Thinking outside the box to find new and innovative solutions has resulted in success during my tenure on the Plymouth Selectboard. That’s the leadership and representation I intend to bring to Beacon Hill.