Mike Kingsella is executive director of Up for Growth.
The issue of affordable housing in our defense communities mirrors national issues of housing availability. Could you share some background on your organization and its approach toward the national housing problem?
Up for Growth National Coalition is a broad and diverse member-driven organization made up of builders, major employers, housing advocates, environmental and conservation groups, financial institutions and social justice advocates united in the belief that a healthy housing ecosystem is essential for communities to grow for the benefit of every person.
We, along with our related organization Up for Growth Action, work at state and national levels to provide research, education, policy development and advocacy aimed at eliminating artificial barriers to housing at all affordability levels and in the communities that need it the most.
You are involved on these issues at the national level and state/local levels. What is working to address housing affordability/availability, and how can defense communities adopt similar approaches?
When housing options in defense communities are scarce and unaffordable, service members and their families are forced to make a choice: live farther away from the communities where they work or make financial and quality-of-life sacrifices to live close to the base or post.
Policies aimed at removing artificial barriers to housing, such as accelerating project permissions, reducing unnecessary costs, and allowing, by-right, more variety in types of housing are proven ways to reduce housing costs. We believe these approaches can address the housing shortages present in defense communities across the U.S.
What is one thing all defense communities can do to ensure great housing for military families today?
Tragically, those who are called to keep us safe – police officers, firefighters, nurses, teachers and service members – are among those most affected by skyrocketing rents, a lack of housing choice, and a lack of access to homes in rapidly growing job centers.
To ensure great housing for military families you can support pro-housing policies that mitigate or eliminate exclusionary zoning, work to remove artificial barriers to housing, or increase resources for affordable housing.
Is your community changing its approach to affordable housing? ADC is looking to share more great ideas.