There is a certain taboo attached to the phrase 'affordable housing' in this day and age. As we see it, all housing should be affordable to the family that is occupying it, no matter their place in society.
The need for the low-income model of affordable housing will always be there as will the funding sources for this type of housing. The type of affordable housing that we see as an important issue in our region is called 'workforce housing'. Without action now, the coming decade will see the flight of more and more workforce jobs and the people that are employed in them.
There is no arguing that central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania are expensive places to live. There is also no arguing that the people that we count on to provide everyday services, from store clerks to teachers and first responders, can not easily afford to live in this area.
The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness has published a research report that it commissioned to look at what the future may hold for families that rely on affordable shelter. To say the least, it is sobering. But where a few see negativity, we see the opportunity to rebuild our urban cores at the same time we can get workers closer to their jobs.
In the coming months, we are planning on introducing ideas and proposals based on the concept of workforce housing. We hope to evoke an open discussion on this topic and how it can serve as a catalyst for urban regeneration, economic development and the diversification of demographics across the region.