Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What About The Affordable Housing

A slightly maddening thing here in the urban hellhole is that any time there's a development proposal people start asking about affordable housing. Philadelphia doesn't have an affordable housing problem. It does have a no damn jobs and no damn money problem, which can lead to people not being able to afford housing, but that's not the same thing. Lack of "affordable housing" happens when land prices get absurdly high, and when only high end units are built. Philly still has plenty of places where land prices are negligible and, for better or for worse, a lot of the housing stock is substandard. Yes gentrification is driving up prices in some places, but it's still really a block by block thing.

I'm all for helping poor people, and in my socialist utopia everyone has a stable living situation, but it doesn't help to incorrectly diagnose the problem. There isn't an affordable housing problem, there are just too many people who have an affordable everything problem. Building a couple of hundred below market rate units isn't going to do much to help people, and it's generally a very expensive way to try.

And don't get me started on how the affordable housing crowd often overlaps with the 'every unit must have 2 parking spaces at $20,000 each' crowd...