Affordable Housing in Tacoma

As a commissioner on the Tacoma Human Rights Commission, I come across many cases on low-income affordable housing.  For this reason, the article analyzing the costs and benefits of various affordable housing programs caught my eye.  The concepts in it would be helpful to utilize in the City of Tacoma.

It may be more affordable for the city to subsidize housing in only less expensive neighborhoods, but the article makes an interesting point on this issue.  It is not necessarily equitable to only provide affordable housing in less expensive (and often poorer) neighborhoods.  The reason for this is the fact that poorer neighborhoods are less likely to have the resources to get an individual out of the cycle of poverty (such as jobs, human service centers, and public transportation). 

Social mobility and economic growth for individuals in need of subsidized housing is the ultimate goal of affordable housing programs.  If the individual does not have resources available to break the cycle of poverty, it is bad for them individually and for the economy of the City itself.

It is a challenge to come up with a plan wherein affordable housing is provided to ALL individuals who need it while still ensuring that there is a plan to break the cycle of poverty on a case-by-case basis.  The City of Tacoma has done this very well through a community called Salishan, which provides affordable housing to low-income individuals.  The houses are quite large and the housing complex as a whole looks like any other one in Tacoma. 


Other than just providing affordable housing to those who need it, there is also a community support center that helps individuals find jobs, learn about personal finance and budgeting, and helps with various other issues that an individual could be facing.  It has been praised by many for its successes in the short time it has been around.  Now that other cities are beginning to think about affordable housing in a more comprehensive way, I would highly recommend that others consult with the City of Tacoma for ideas.  Different cities, of course, have different needs, but it is a great example to look towards.


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