Leverage existing homes to create more | Letter to the editor

Posted 1/13/22

My wife and I moved to the area in July of 2018, eager to start my work as the new Director of Jefferson County’s Department of Emergency Management. 

In making our decision to accept …

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Leverage existing homes to create more | Letter to the editor

Posted

My wife and I moved to the area in July of 2018, eager to start my work as the new Director of Jefferson County’s Department of Emergency Management. 

In making our decision to accept the job offer and in preparation for the move, we had done ample research and felt fully prepared to make the move, but finding a place to rent became a concern. 

Nearly four years later, we are still learning about the true nature of Jefferson County’s contentious housing market. Through a series of fortunate events and our amazing Department of Emergency Management volunteer network, we were able to find short-term, then long-term housing upon our arrival.

However, four years later, no such “first home” has materialized. Time and time again, our offers have been beaten. We fear we have missed our opportunity to own a home in Jefferson County, and are resigned to renting indefinitely or possibly even looking to settle down elsewhere.

It is often said that disasters are not inherently damaging on their own, but rather they shine a light on existing inequalities and societal shortcomings. How do we as local government and first response organizations best serve our community when we as essential workers cannot find housing and are forced to leave the area?

I urge everyone to take into consideration the ways in which we all can make this amazing community more livable for our workforce. We have 3,300 chronically unoccupied homes in the area which could be made available to house our workforce. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are a great way to expand housing options and provide homeowners with supplemental income without crowding out new and prospective homebuyers. Without leveraging these existing solutions, local housing is on track to become a disaster of our own making.

Willie Bence
Jefferson County Director of Emergency Management

Comments

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  • Herbert T Birdsfoot

    if you buy a house that has an ADU. it is easier to qualify income-wise for the home loan. This is because you can use the rent, or potential rent, on the ADU as income to qualify for the loan. You or a market rents appraisal and can use 75% of the rental amount. The same applies to 2-4 unit properties.

    Sunday, January 16 Report this

  • Giselleblythe

    Chronically unoccupied homes? I'm not sure what that means, could you elaborate?

    Wednesday, January 19 Report this