I was disheartened to read Monday’s opinion article, “Affordable Housing Projects Threatening to Metastasize.” Mr. Walter Wood’s misrepresentation of affordable housing development is based on uninformed assumptions.
Rather than a “detriment to local neighbors and businesses,” affordable housing developments are a far greater use of space, opportunity and resources than the underutilized spaces they replace. In fact, 20 years of decreasing funding has limited developments to those that best serve their communities.
Today’s affordable housing developments are required to integrate into neighborhood architecture. The “high-density projects” that Mr. Wood opposes are only permitted in high-density neighborhoods. High-density development houses more people near more jobs. This makes sense, especially in Berkeley where dense subdivision and infrastructure already exist.
Affordable housing developments house the elderly, the poor, the disabled and the battered. But they also prevent the relocation of working families to the urban fringe, where greenfields are consumed and commutes are hours long. Affordable housing developments reinvigorate communities with mixed-use buildings, adequate facilities for residents who want to live there, landlords who will not evict residents to raise rents, and the pride derived from local cooperation in creating the project.
Perhaps with greater cooperation and attempting to resolve housing problems, rather than wage war against the solutions, Mr. Wood and others could be a part of that community identity. Incorporating affordable housing into a shared vision is our only hope to maintain local vitality and cure the true ills of our social welfare: homelessness and the lack of affordable housing.