The Idaho Press-Tribune published a guest column, “Who Speaks for Affordable Housing,” by Gary Hanes, a working group member of the Opportunity Starts at Home affordable homes campaign’s state partner in Idaho, stressing the importance of speaking up for affordable housing. Mr. Hanes makes clear that the perception that rural states like Idaho do not have a severe shortage of affordable housing is erroneous, noting the crisis has hit every corner of the state and there is an “unmet need of over 23,000 affordable units statewide.” The Idaho Asset Building Network (IABN), a state partner of the national Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, is diversifying its state’s housing coalition to other sectors and leveraging new multi-sector voices to advocate for more robust and equitable federal housing policies.
“First, there was no shelter for homeless people. I wasn’t homeless, so I didn’t speak up except to complain because they weren’t invisible,” writes Mr. Hanes. “Next, seniors and people with disabilities on fixed incomes could no longer afford their housing. I was neither, so I didn’t speak up except to advise them to get a job or pick up and move. Service workers—even those with two jobs—couldn’t afford simple apartments. I wasn’t a service worker, so I didn’t speak up except to oppose the planned affordable development in my neighborhood. . . . But then an affordable home got to be out of reach for my young adult children, my aging parents and even me. Now, there’s no one to speak for us.”
Read the full op-ed here.