Sunday, June 4Welcome

Statewide Leadership Needed for Housing and Homelessness

To Andrew Gray

Has been updated: 11 minutes ago Release: 11 minutes ago

aerial view, aerial photography, home sale, housing, housing market

Alaska’s housing crisis didn’t happen overnight. It’s been built over decades. In the 2000s, short-term rentals like AirBnB took off while new home construction plummeted dramatically. Transportation, labor and construction material costs are skyrocketing as land available for development remains scarce. Faced with these challenges and unprecedented inflation, the state government has provided constant funding to important housing organizations for more than her 20 years. As a result of all these factors, homelessness has skyrocketed. So far this year, 8,727 people have accessed services in Anchorage, according to the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. A total of 13,474 did so statewide. And all too often it’s the people who have lost their homes who are to blame.

I am a Family Physician Assistant who has been caring for unaccompanied patients. One individual, let’s call him John, had a serious medical condition that required daily medication. After these impromptu appointments, I offered him transportation to Sullivan Arena. His reason was that given the choice of sleeping in a large shelter with strangers and little privacy, he would rather be outside.

You’ve probably heard, “Some people choose to be homeless.” This statement releases liability for uncontained individuals referred to by the speaker. That means nothing can be done to help. This statement is from an elected official and if it did, it exempts the city or state from liability. You haven’t chosen to be. A shelter is not a home. People may prefer camps to homeless shelters. But they rarely chose camps over permanent homes.

John did not choose to be homeless. he was ashamed of it. If I hadn’t known him better, I wouldn’t have guessed he wasn’t home. The visible homeless we see on the streets are a minority. The majority don’t look like John. Invisible homeless people include seniors with special needs, parents with children, young people and minors, and many working people who hide their housing problems. None of them declined their place. We are therefore very supportive of partnerships with local governments and non-profit organizations to convert hotel rooms into studio apartments with additional services for those in need. is the solution you need.

Homelessness experts say the homelessness solution is housing. In Juneau, Fairbanks, Kodiak, rural Alaska and here in Anchorage, the lack of affordable labor housing is a major problem. His 2021 vacancy rate in our city is 3.2%, making him one of the tightest cities ever. The limited housing we have is dilapidated. The 2020 Census shows that 70% of Anchorage homes were built before his 1990. Fewer homes have been built in Anchorage in the past decade than in any decade since 1950. Only 4,588 new homes were built, compared to 32,784 in the 1970s. The average price of a new single-family home is $436,577.

Housing shortages have pushed some rental housing prices up by as much as 30% over the past few years. According to Alaska Economic Trends, Anchorage saw its biggest single-year rent increase in more than 20 years last year. I have spoken with senior citizens in my district who are at risk of losing their apartments because of these rent increases. If tourists can make hundreds of dollars a night renting out their homes, why would they look for long-term Alaska residents? Accurate data on short-term rentals in Anchorage are incomplete, but other Based on area, available housing is declining. Long-term rentals should be preferred.

Our cities can do more to encourage new housing construction, such as deregulating zoning codes and negotiating new land for development. For starters, we will significantly increase funding for housing-related organizations. Housing and homelessness problems cannot be solved by one group or organization alone. For too long our state governments have sat back and watched other states lead the way. It needs to change and now is the time.

Andrew Gray is a candidate for District 20 of the Alaska Legislature, which includes the U-Med area of ​​East Anchorage.

The views expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a wide range of views.To submit your work for consideration, please email Commentary (at) adn.comSubmissions of less than 200 words will be Also Click here to send from any web browserPlease read our complete guidelines for letters and comments here.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *