Letter From ArLyne Diamond

I’d like to suggest that we need both “affordable housing” and housing that is affordable. We tend to lump them together but they are actually two different concepts.

We use the term affordable housing when talking about housing that is subsidized for low income people. Yes, we need a certain amount of those but frankly, I wonder why we don’t do what people do in other states. There, housing is developed of all sizes and people either rent or buy according to what they afford. For example, in the apartment buildings in The Bronx, where I was raised, the doctor had the big bright corner apartment and some of my neighbors had much smaller apartments with windows facing the alleyway. We all lived together happily. FYI, my family and I lived in what had been a converted ballroom. We were one of four apartments that came from that old ballroom.

Housing that is affordable really depends on the laws of supply and demand. The less the supply and the more the demand, the higher the prices. The more the supply there is competition for buyers and renters and prices tend to come down to more reasonable rates. We need to encourage development of housing of all sizes and shapes that brings the supply up and more affordable.