Monday, April 24, 2006

Coming to you live from...

The central branch of The Greatest Public Library system in the country. (Apparently the internet is working at my house, but there are some many boxes piled in my office that I can't get to the computer.)

Anyway, how about some affordable housing?

I’m glad to see folks pushing for increased allocations of affordable housing, though I still think the predominate affordable housing paradigm – inclusionary zoning – is structurally flawed. But it is the predominate paradigm, and you know how hard it is changing long distance carrierers, let alone paradigms.

A plan to increase the number of affordable apartments in Howard County doesn't go far enough, a representative from the Howard County League of Women Voters said this week.

The plan increases by 100 annually the number of one- and two-bedroom apartments for moderate-income residents that developers can build in areas of the county zoned for affordable housing.

Grace Kubofcik, co-president of the voters league, said county officials should up the number to 250 annually in order to more closely meet the county's true need for affordable units.

"What we are suggesting is to seriously consider forgetting the 100 and (devote a larger number of affordable units)," she said.

Well, that’s a start, right? But how does it compare to the overall need?

"In the income category of $27,000 and below, Howard County has a deficit of 17,000 units," said Rev. Robert Turner, president of the African American Coalition of Howard County, a citizens group. "There is a surplus of available housing for families earning more than $100,000 a year."

Hmmm…looks like we’re still coming up a little short. Oh, wait, looks like we’re not even talking about this need.

Based on the county's current $82,065 median income, officials define moderate-income households as those earning between $32,826 and $65,652 annually.

So, you have to earn at least $32,826 to qualify for our affordable housing program. If you earn less than that, apparently, you’re a lost cause. Good to know.

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