Monday, February 11, 2008

The Timelessness of Sinclair Lewis

The need for workforce housing in the Centre Region was brought to center stage in 2004 with the closing of a trailer parks on North Atherton Street to make way for commercial development and a fire which destroyed the low income housing at the Bellefonte Academy. Two years latter the Centre Region was reminded that the problem had yet to be solved when a second North Atherton Street trailer park was closed once again to make room for commercial development.

Today the problem still isn't solved, but in this morning's CDT, Dan Abruzzo, Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County’s vice president of government affairs and chairman of the Workforce Housing Committee for the Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition, tell us that it time to pat ourselves on the back.
Safe, decent, accessible housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a family’s income continues to be the main mission of the Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition.


The coalition and others have made significant advancements toward this goal.


We should congratulate ourselves on some recent worthy achievements.
That's right it's time to take a break form all of the hard work to pat ourselves on the backs for our "worthy achievements". What are these achievements?
  • The Centre County Housing and Land Trust has been created and activated;
  • Municipal ordinances are being rewritten to encourage more affordable housing;
  • Developers, lenders and Realtors are becoming more engaged;
  • Employers are taking a closer look at assisting employees with their housing needs.
Do you notice anything missing from this list? I thought you would. The affordable housing stock hasn't been increased in any significant way.

But there is more to be proud of than just this.
As a resident of College Township, I’m impressed [Easily, some might say.] and proud that my municipality has committed $100,000 to promote work-force housing. I applaud my township and challenge other municipalities to follow suit.
This is a township which contains the Centre Hills development where $100k might get you a building lot.

What about his oragnization the Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition? What have they done?
The marketing committee is promoting awareness to community and professional organizations with its speakers’ bureau. The committee is also developing brochures on awareness, planning an educational video and considering a Web site dedicated to the coalition’s mission and activities.
Here he's celebrating an army of PPT presenters, glossy brochures, high production value videos,and maybe, just maybe, as Web site, all of this dedicated to making people aware of a problem which stares them in the face.

There's more. They're having meetings.
Our Workforce Housing Committee has been tasked with planning a housing summit for affordable-housing stakeholders. It also continues to spread the word on employer-assisted housing programs that help recruit, retain and make workers more productive. Typically, an added result for employers is a positive community image.
Oh, and not just meetings. They are helping to bring back the company patch, because they think it makes the boss look good.

Here's a good one.
The coalition’s Very Low/Low Income Housing Committee has been relentless in its efforts to relocate the Mellott Mobile Home Park residents.

Its success exemplifies what’s possible when municipal and county government, developers (from Patton and College townships), social service agencies and faith-based groups all work as a team.

We are happy to report that all residents have been relocated.
That's right they've been "relentless" in clearing the way for a new commercial development, while avoiding the bad publicity which surrounded the evictions of the residents of the first trailer park to close for commercial development. Good guys, these.

There's more. Go read the whole thing and see for yourself if you can find additional Babbittry in this self-congratulatory piece.

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