Editorial: You Can Shape Our Future Through Housing
It’s been a very hard year, but it also has been an inspiring year for me as I look to how many in our community have shown up for our neighbors in need. A safe place to call home has never been more critical. At the same time, housing in our region has never been harder to get. The median sale price of a home on Cape Cod has skyrocketed to $540,000 in the last year, a 20% increase in 12 months.
We need your help to ensure that each and every town on the Cape takes action to create more affordable housing options for our residents.
Housing construction is largely driven by town decisions on zoning and bylaws. Towns need to update their zoning to allow more multi-family homes and apartments in their village centers, and they need to update bylaws to promote the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – small apartments built into an existing home or garage.
You DO know enough to be involved in town decisions! Go to your town meeting. Speak up for housing! Town meeting is designed so that the average citizen can have a voice in deciding town policies and how the town invests its money. With every meeting, it will get easier as you become familiar with the format. If you want some advance tips, check out our video “One-Hour to Town Meeting Confidence” below and make sure to check out our Advocacy page here where you can sign up for future advocacy training sessions and find useful talking points for attending a town meeting.
You can check your town’s website for meeting dates and warrants which list the specific items on which there will be votes. Even if there is not a warrant related to housing, you can use the public comment period to let your town officials know you want them to focus on housing this year. All you have to do is speak to your experience.
What was it like for you, your friends or family to look for housing? What challenges did you face?
Why do you care about providing more housing opportunities in your town?
Do you want to make sure we have affordable options for young professionals and families, for all the people who work in your town, and for seniors who want to age in place?
What will your town lose if we lose everyone except the most wealthy homeowners?
Many people say they don’t want more housing because they don’t want the Cape and Islands to change. But the fact is, the Cape is changing and housing is becoming increasingly more expensive for our workforce, families and seniors.
Together, we can change the course and ensure the Cape has a thriving year-round community through proactive housing policies. You can help!