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AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Last week, GlobeSt.com asked readership about affordable housing in your communities. Only 14% of respondents said their neighborhood has embraced it, while 43% of respondents said NIMBY is their way of life, and 43% chose to say that education had helped, but their neighborhood is not there yet. Cecka Rose Green is communications director for Florida Housing Finance Corp., a non-profit organization created by the state Legislature to increase affordable housing opportunities for Floridians and educate the public about its benefits. Green offers her thoughts on last week’s poll:

“The choice of answers [to this poll question] definitely reflect the attitudes that are still out there, and that is the attitude of “not in my backyard.” We know that we need affordable housing, but we’re not quite there yet. Housing in our nation is one of those things that’s a part of the American dream. Everyone should understand that affordable housing is a right everyone should have, not matter what income level or circumstances are involved.

“There are still a lot of people in the state, and the nation, that look at affordable housing as only being very low and moderate income housing, and as being ‘Section 8′ or ‘the projects.’ That’s not necessarily the case. There are people who work every day in moderate-income jobs, including teachers, law enforcement officers, active military personnel, retired military and some young professionals, that even on the salaries they make, home ownership is out of the park for them because of cost. These are people who keep our community safe, and without them having a viable livelihood, we will not have safe, educated, healthy communities. Our organization is working to do that. With our programs we try to make homeownership affordable so an average family does not necessarily have to be renters.

“We’re in need of a paradigm shift. We really should not view each other as the haves and have nots, and the haves are able to live the American dream in the big palatial homes. When we shift our paradigm, that’s when everyone can live according to their means in safe, decent, affordable housing. By doing that we would be building a healthier state, better neighborhoods, children and nation.”

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