To the editor:
You printed a recent editorial suggesting that this fall’s election was not the time to renew the sales tax. I know that the sales tax is regressive; however, it seems to me that this is the best time to use this vehicle to begin to regenerate an affordable housing trust fund. Your editorial also suggested that the issue needed to be studied more. In fact, affordable housing has been studied multiple times since 1993 with little to no lasting results.
However, in 2014 Justice Matters encouraged the city to unearth previous studies and the city discovered $100,000 that had been earmarked for housing but had not been used because city leaders thought another study was required. My thought is, why waste more money on another study when a cross collaboration among housing providers was able to leverage the leftover $100,000 to $400,000 with private donations, and three permanently affordable homes were built in 2014-2015 to provide three homes for formerly homeless children and families. Proof, it can be done!
In lieu of nonexistent help from the state and a tremendous strain on the city for other important projects, it seems to me that the sales tax should be renewed and put to work for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Those monies can leverage grants and meanwhile the city can re-examine ways to continue to provide affordable housing.