Council’s Affordable Housing Duplicity: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

person vaping. The 'somke' obscuring people coming down stairs
Smoke Screen photo by micadew is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

So we’re shining the sweat-inducing perp spotlight on some badly behaving city council. Which one, in which country?

Consider this a blanket indictment of too many municipal councils facing affordable housing crises in too many countries.

Our complaint? The eagerness of municipal councils to hide behind an affordable housing smokescreen thrown up by housing developers and builders. Reluctantly, those industries have allowed that there is a difference between ‘luxury’ housing, which they would prefer to build — high profits! — and affordable housing, which is every other level of housing.

In one sense, affordable housing is an individual perception, a judgement, whether from a homeless person without a penny in their pocket, or from a billionaire, considering yet another home to add to a collection.

But when it comes to a city’s affordable housing crisis, it’s no excuse to abandon those in critical need with a wave of a smokey veil on the grounds that ‘everybody needs affordable housing, so let’s build housing for everybody.’

Councils need to realize that this ‘smokey veil’ is next to invisible. Oh sure, every other level of housing, bar luxury, has been qualified and quantified with technical segmentation such as housing for ‘80% to 120%’ of median income. But to describe portions of a housing market using selling price or income as dividing lines does not suddenly sanctify it as ‘affordable’ in the midst of a crisis.

It’s obvious not only to anyone who cares to look, but in many cases trumpeted by developers, ‘Sure, we’re happy to take your tax dollars to help us make a profit, that’s what capitalists do. More fool you, city councillor, if you think what we’re doing here with your money is going to solve your affordable housing crisis.’

Consider the following Australian article from the shire of Northern Rivers. It states the obvious right off the bat — there is no affordable housing available anywhere in the shire. It goes on to explain in some detail why council approved and government subsidized affordable housing projects are not going to change the situation one bit. It then echoes the self-congratulatory trumpeting of the developers, who are happy to take government support to build housing that is both profitable while affordable to those most in need in name only.

If developers can’t be bothered hiding behind some kind of smokescreen or veil, it doesn’t look good for you, councillors, dancing naked behind your invisible fans, blowing smoke. Seems you can’t depend on your partners in crime to even put up a pretence of innocence.

Read more about the affordable housing situation in Northern Rivers, Australia in the Echo NETDAILY: Why ‘Affordable Housing’ In The Northern Rivers Is Only For The Rich