A modest proposal on housing

February 14th, 2020 by Ken

The City of Lacey’s efforts to build more affordable housing by streamlining Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the city is a good start.  The problem, has been spelled out on my Facebook Page – – the affordable housing is too expensive to build.

City staff estimate that a 400 sq ft unit can run from $70,000 to $100,000 to construct.  Larger units of 600 sq ft are even more expensive.

I think I have a solution that may have some merit.

The City of Lacey should give a grant of $30,000 to every property owner willing to build a city-approved ADU.  In exchange, the property owner would be limited in the amount of rent they could charge for a period of time.  Affordable housing is too expensive.  Only by subsidizing housing can we build more affordable units.

Many cities already subsidize new housing apartments through various grants.  Why can’t the City of Lacey do the same?  A private-public endeavor.  Start out small – – maybe 10 units at a cost of $300,000.  See how it works out.  There will be other costs such as administration, and they will be unexpected setbacks.  But it’s worth an effort to explore.

The city already subsidizes some property owners.  They just gave residents of Capitol City Golf Club Estates new sewer hookups for free under the justification as in the public interest.  Subsidizing more affordable housing is also in the public interest.

This is just an idea.  City staff could come up with more concrete proposals.  We just have to continue the start the city has already begun.

Posted in Business, Government, The Real News

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