Letters to the Editor

Raise your voices for affordable housing -- for everyone

FILE PHOTO: Terrill Symons talks about the solar panels on the roof of his Habitat for Humanity home. Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is focused on making sustainable home building and repairs.
FILE PHOTO: Terrill Symons talks about the solar panels on the roof of his Habitat for Humanity home. Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is focused on making sustainable home building and repairs. ttompkins@bradenton.com

This week (July 22-29) has been National Housing Week of Action. Rallies and events took place nationwide, bringing attention to the growing affordable housing challenges in cities throughout the U.S. The campaign “Our Homes, Our Voices” raises concerns about the significant reductions to federal funding for HUD and the USDA programs. Advocates are urging Congress to “lift the low spending caps and fully invest in affordable housing resources” to help economically vulnerable families keep a roof over their heads and help communities thrive.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity benefits from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), a program of HUD and administered by our local municipalities. Funding has helped us build 18 Habitat homes in Ellenton and acquire property in Bradenton to build affordable homes in a neighborhood in much need of revitalization.

At Habitat, we believe everyone deserves a decent place to live. Over the past 23 years, our homebuyer program has enabled 127 families to do just that. An investment in affordable housing pays off with the long-term benefits of increased economic mobility, improved health and higher educational achievement for children and families. In addition, communities that invest in affordable housing infrastructure generate more jobs, boost family income and encourage further development.

The affordable housing crisis is big, and slashing federal programs that have kept families stable is a huge step backwards. Finding long-term sustainable solutions will require all of us working together at the local, state and federal level to make decent shelter — not a privilege for some, but attainable for all.

Diana Shoemaker, executive director, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity

Bradenton

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