Rents are high even as vacancies rates have increased with the state recession. This is a problem even for those of us with great houses we can afford. If Anchorage's workforce is struggling, it's a problem for all of us. We will have a hard time growing if new residents can't find an affordable place to live.
Affordable Housing is a citywide challenge. It’s expensive to build here and with the easy land long gone, the cost of a home is high. There are several non-profits dedicated to building ‘affordable’ homes but they can’t meet the need and the homes they build are only affordable through federal grants. To have any hope of providing the amount of affordable housing we need, we have to figure out a way that it can be done profitably by conventional developers.
In my first term, I have worked with Anchorage home builders to remove some rules that increased costs but brought little community benefit. We have created new zoning rules to make it easier to build lower cost homes. We need to do more. I will continue that work.
We should also look beyond ‘affordable housing.’ It is just one component of Affordable ‘Living.’ It’s likely the cost of housing in Anchorage will not decrease significantly. That would be less of a challenge for people if they could cut other costs. For example, if instead of subsidizing housing, we built an efficient bus system, people could hold a job without having to own a car.
Find market based solutions to providing affordable housing
Look at ways to create 'Affordable Living.'