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Affordable Housing

For those of us with warm roofs over our heads and groceries on the table the problem of affordable housing does not often surface. But for low-income families, where half the income can disappear simply trying to keep the family sheltered in an acceptable home, the problem is a daily one. President of the BRIDGE Housing Corporation Donald Terner and columnist Brad Terner argue that affordable housing is a problem that should involve everyone. From your local supermarket clerk to your child’s science teacher, the problem of affordable housing can affect us all.
Terner presents the beginning of a solution to the affordable housing problem in his article Affordable Housing: An Impossible Dream? in The Commonwealth, published June 1994. His company founded from an anonymous $600,000 donation is a non-profit organization that builds quality, affordable housing for low-income families. Its effects, however, are limited. One project just opened in San Francisco with 3,000 applicants and 108 acceptances, which can be looked at as pretty dismal statistics. “This is just a drop in the bucket,” writes Terner, ‘the real question is how to expand and replicate.” (Terner, p. 392) It is this expansion that the bulk of the article argues for. Terner values a fair chance for all citizens at the “American Dream” and this chance involves the whole community. Terner mentions the “NIMBY” syndrome, or Not-In-My-Back-Yard Syndrome, where communities support the concept of affordable housing, but none that are to be built in their community. Ideally one could turn to the government for help with problems such as housing, but National, State, and local governments have proven themselves to be of little help. This is where the individual comes in.
Inman, too, argues in favor of individual involvement in his article Examining Real Estate’s Great Divide in The San Mateo County Times in September 1997. Inman focuses on the contrast between weal...

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