Reading The Valley Reporter and discussing housing brings me sadness. Since I started in real estate in 1986, there have been studies, money spent and more money spent. There is a housing squeeze of epic proportions. Let’s just talk about the last three weeks of activity in my office.
I’m acquainted with three people who are homeless and bouncing around. These people have jobs and are living in their cars and surfing sofas. We rented a condominium last week for $950 per month. I had 30 qualified people to enjoy the place from in town and within an hour’s driving distance. Within one hour of posting on craigslist I had 12 inquiries. If I were not banned from Front Porch Forum for stating obvious expenditures of a pocket park, I’m sure I would have had many more. There were many people I knew and knew would be good tenants, but I only had one place to rent. It’s not right, it’s never been this bad. Do you know how depressing it is to have people lined up needing a place to rent? And having to say no or not being able to have a place for them to rent?
The current proposals being discussed by the housing coalition are not for the average working person. They are subsidized housing.
Meanwhile the working, retired, single person has no options. It used to be we all got along. In East Warren, there were trailers, modest homes next to mansions, no issues. Now we only have mansions.
If we were allowed to build, given the green light to build affordable housing similar to the Commons in Moretown, I could fill it in five days’ time. If we were allowed boarding homes, people could have an affordable room to rent. A modest home is the foundation for financial stability, for family stability, for prosperity. Yet here in The Valley, here in Vermont, we’re making it almost impossible. We are creating our own problems and many people are getting rich off keeping people poor.
I’ve heard every excuse in the book, the truth is our leaders don’t want it. Our state doesn’t want it. Those that write the regulations, based upon Agenda 21 signed by George Bush, don’t want home ownership. They are all promoting lies and excuses to make lots of money and have everyone renting from the state or their cronies. It’s a great inside game if you are connected. We could have decent affordable home ownership; these are good people; we’ve lost sight of the simple American dream.
I’ve been to the committees, I’ve been involved, I’ve offered solutions, it goes back to (according to them) we need subsidized housing and a sewer plant in Waitsfield. Sadly, those with the power to make decisions don’t want modest home ownership, it’s that simple. It’s coming from the state down too, make no mistake. People are making a ton of money building rental properties, subsidized by the state (you) for building, permitting, paying the rent, etc. at $525 a square foot. To put that expense in perspective, the latest luxury condominiums built slopeside were around $423/square foot. (This is the reason we don’t have home ownership; people are making a lot more money off subsidized housing! It’s a poverty trap to boot!)
It’s a Vermont problem, it’s a problem created by our own doing. It is not just a Valley problem. It’s a sad situation that could be solved with no money in about six to 18 months across the entire state, if we only wanted to solve the problem. We need to ignore the mandates from the United Nations, Agenda 21 and get back to the American agenda, home ownership.
Johnson lives in Waitsfield.