Transparency crucial on affordable housing

The continuing public discussion on affordable housing for the town of Falls Village has found a home on the Opinion page of this newspaper. We welcome that as a responsible way to carefully consider any issue and express one’s opinions thoughtfully, given the need to plan what one is saying ahead of time and reread one’s thoughts before they are committed to being published in the paper. 

There is something about the irrevocable nature of printing one’s thoughts on newsprint that makes one think hard about what needs to be said there. There’s no taking it back once it has gone to press, unlike comments on Facebook or Twitter that can be removed if second thoughts are in order.

The Lakeville Journal has been a relentless proponent of increased affordable housing in our region, and will continue to be. The reasons for that are many, as has been so often related in this space, from being welcoming to young families that will keep our communities vibrant to offering reasonable homes for volunteers to providing places where older residents can downsize. 

Another topic this newspaper comes down on the side of often is transparency, especially in government, whether it be state, local or federal. The two topics converge here, with the importance of openness being key in the planning for the proposed affordable housing in Falls Village. 

If both sides are to eventually come together to assess the need and the solutions for increased housing in the area, and agree upon what the resolution should be, all those involved need to feel heard. 

There are reasons why people are confused or defensive even if they say they support increased affordable housing in the area. The Falls Village Housing Trust needs to be open and upfront about its ongoing planning and should welcome public comments from those in town who care about what their community will look like in five or 10 years.

Now is the time for the housing trust to reveal all the planning and the options for outcomes. Once that happens, and all those whose lives will be affected by the construction of new housing can feel they understand everything that is on the table, it’s much more likely new housing could become a reality.

With new people moving into the area to leave urban life behind during the threat of COVID-19, now is the perfect time for such plans to be implemented and new families and others to be welcomed into this small community. It would be to the benefit of the town and the region if something could come of the hard work put into the planning for affordable housing here by the housing trust. It is to be hoped that compromise can happen and additional viable and affordable housing can be made available in Falls Village.

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