It isn’t really news when affordable housing agencies advocate for more moderately priced housing. As the Geico commercials say, that’s what they do. It’s another thing when the local business association convenes a group of bankers, real estate brokers, town planners and elected officials to do so. And thanks to the leadership of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, that’s exactly what has happened. Read more
In December, the Chamber convened a 26-member Housing Working Group that includes Carl Nagy-Koechlin, Housing Solutions Executive Director. Chris Oddleifson, CEO at Rockland Trust is chairing the Working Group.
The Chamber recently published an economic development plan for the region, entitled South Shore 2030: Choosing our Future. The plan emphasized business and job growth, along with the revitalization of downtown business districts. It concluded that the region needs to attract people to the region who can fill new jobs, start new businesses and patronize local businesses. With an aging population and workforce, the Chamber – with research support from the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission – has concluded that the South Shore needs 40,000 new homes by 2030 if the region is to be economically viable and vibrant in the future. Based on anticipated demand from the targeted workforce population, these homes should include a mix of multi-family rental units, in addition to homeownership opportunities.
So, housing is not just a basic human need, as affordable housing advocates have long asserted, it’s also an economic imperative for a region that aspires to prosper.
“We need new homes that are affordable and attractive to a wide range of people,” says Nagy-Koechlin. “This includes families with kids, young professionals, lower wage workers, and seniors who can no longer mange or afford to maintain their single-family homes. It’s great to see consensus on this across the Working Group members.”
The Chamber expects the Working Group report will be released in the fall, followed by a concerted effort to encourage town officials, legislators, developers, residents and others to support the development of the needed housing via zoning reforms, financing and collaboration to identify sites in the region that are suitable for housing development.