Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Local Houses

There is a big fight in Huntington Station about an “affordable housing” project. The general outline is that the builder wants to put up almost 500 “units’ on a piece of property near the Huntington Railroad station. This project is opposed by people who see their property values decline because of it; project bad results in several areas for the school system; and see that crime will increase. The supporters of the project see improvements in the transit situation (?), call the projected crime fears “baseless”, and criticize the Town Board for opposing it after initially supporting it. (This last is a joke. The Town Board is actually being criticized for listening to its constituents. It’s not because they really oppose the project but it’s a start.)
The supporters would have a better case if they could demonstrate where there is any affordable housing project anywhere that has not resulted in an increase in crime in the local area. The type of project that does result in less crime is usually criticized for gentrifying the area. These are the ones that result in housing that is only affordable to people who actually pay full price for the property and have an interest in taking care of it. “Only” 25% of this project would be in the affordable category is ridiculous. So, only 25% of the units would be held by people who have no stake in taking care of it and would be living in housing that they can’t afford without government help. That is what caused our current problem. Continuing to do the thing that caused the problem is probably not the solution and it will not help the value of the other 75%.
There is a nearby project that was once considered “affordable housing” that can be used to see what happens over time to these great ideas. It is a rental property that was once called Winoka Village. Anyone want to live near projects like that? There are many other such projects all over NYC. None of them have been successful.

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