Alan Bowes is asking community members to think about the issue that has been on his mind the past 10 years as executive director of Lawrence's Tenants to Homeowners.
"I would ask people to imagine what it would be like to want to own a home and work hard to own a home and still not be able to afford to do so," Bowes said. "It is very frustrating."
Soon it will be up to someone else to think about that issue. Bowes, the first full-time director for the home ownership organization, resigned to take a position with a nonprofit agency in Medford, Ore.
"It was purely personal," Bowes said of his decision to leave the organization. "I'm not mad at anyone, and, as far as I know, no one is mad at me."
But Bowes said he believed whoever took over for him would have a tougher job than he did. He said it appeared likely the Bush administration would cut Community Development Block Grant money and other funding, which has been a major part of the city's affordable housing programs. To Bowes, that means local tax dollars are going to become more critical.
"It is going to take a very strong commitment from the community," Bowes said. "In the past, the public hasn't minded because it has all pretty much been federal dollars. That will change. The public will have to decide whether they want moderate income people living here.
"Everybody says Lawrence is such a special place. They're going to have to prove that."
Rebecca Buford, the organization's assistant director, has been named the interim executive director. She said she was applying for the full-time position. Buford said the organization couldn't afford to take a break during the transition period.
"We want everybody to know that we won't be slowing down," Buford said.
She said the organization needed to continue work on growing its land trust concept.