Do something more about affordable housing?
The Portland Press Herald is running a series this week on housing prices in Portland and the various impacts that rapidly increasing rents are having on the community. But the series is looking at housing as a Portland issue, when in fact the entire region is facing a similar set of housing pressures. Just like our area’s economy as a whole, affordable housing for working Mainers is a regional issue.
So why don’t we have a regional housing strategy?
We need a set of municipal policies that our entire region can adopt in a way that meets market demand, not just for high end condos, or for publicly assisted housing for the poor, but for workforce housing that can support a stronger regional economy.
For several years the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce has issued a warning about housing costs in the City and the region in our Economic ScoreCard. It’s good to see the recent upsurge in market-rate housing in the entire region.
But we need to do more to attract the workers who are essential for economic growth – and as a result, affordable middle class housing is at the top of that list.
The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce is committed to growing our region. Affordable housing is a top priority for us to reach that goal. In the year ahead, we’ll be working with municipal officials from all of our eight communities to make sure our region has the additional housing we need to support the new workers who will make our economy thrive.