Our Home, Our Future: Salisbury Family Services

Voices from our Salisbury community about the housing we need for a healthy, economically vibrant future.

In this crazy time of social distancing and coronavirus fear, our homes are our sanctuaries. But what if you don’t have a secure home for you and your family? What if an illness, divorce or job loss threatens your ability to live in our community where your children are in school and where you have friends and family? What if it threatens your ability to have a home at all? Even before the virus outbreak, that’s the situation for many of the people who come to Salisbury Family Services for help. Director Patrice McGrath says she meets with people who live and/or work in Salisbury who are in serious need of assistance. There is more poverty in Salisbury than most people are aware of.

In addition to families with children, she sees a need for housing for single men and women. Some are in their 30s but a majority are women in their 50s to 60s, who are too young to qualify for Social Security. Many of her clients work multiple jobs, some of which are seasonal. Some are disabled with limited income. All are struggling.

Patrice says that young people would love to live in Salisbury. Unfortunately the high cost of local housing and lack of rental options mean that they cannot afford to live here. If they have children, childcare costs further strain their budgets, forcing them to move elsewhere even though they don’t want to leave because of our great schools. It’s one reason that our school populations have been declining for years. 

Patrice finds that there’s a real need for low income housing as well as affordable housing, which can be more expensive. When the cost is low enough, young people can stay in the area while they save for a future home purchase. People can have a place to live after divorce or a medical emergency while they get back on their feet. Her clients are your friends and neighbors or people who work for businesses on which you depend. More housing options, especially low cost rental options, would help our whole community thrive and help provide a secure sanctuary for our most vulnerable neighbors. 

 

 Mary Close Oppenheimer is a local artist who has been part of the Lakeville/Salisbury community for 30 years. Her love of the town and concern for its future have motivated her to learn about and share with her neighbors how local housing costs impact the town’s economic future and the people who live and work here.

 

 

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