We need to talk about Housing Insecurity
Lancaster County must deal with Housing Insecurity or face an uncertain future
If we fail to address the legacy of historical inequities in Lancaster County, we allow too many of our neighbors to live in a perpetual state of poverty and disadvantage.
Data shows that if we continue keeping our heads in the sand, we risk a decline in our economic potential.
The recently released Equity Profile of Lancaster County, commissioned by the YWCA of Lancaster, offers a blueprint for addressing inequities in housing insecurity, workforce development, and the dearth of political representation in communities of color.
“By making equity a core operating principle and implementing policies and strategies to ensure low-income people and communities of color can reach their full potential, Lancaster can create prosperity for generations to come,” the Profile explains.
Housing insecurity, the Profile emphasizes, is perhaps the most perilous problem facing Lancaster County’s economic development. A recently released study by the Economic Development Company of Lancaster points out that we are approaching a tipping point at which our economic growth may stagnate because we are avoiding talking about housing insecurity.
The problem is dire. Many of our neighbors exist in a perpetual cycle of inequity and economic deprivation. A scant 4.8% of the housing units in Lancaster County are considered affordable housing, according to the Lancaster County Housing Authority. Some 57% of the county’s population qualify for affordable housing, and a bulk of that number are forced to utilize market rate housing.
Our failure to act on this problem leads to other issue including food and employment insecurity, the Profile explains.
The Profile is not meant to be a reprimand, but a call to action.
In an unprecedented approach, the YWCA is asking county residents to engage in what may be an uncomfortable conversation to develop local-focused policy recommendations.
Every Republican, every Democratic, every Independent, and everyone else must set aside their partisan blinders and ideological entrenchments and read the Profile.
The problem of housing insecurity is not going away, and keeping our head in the sand isn’t going to change anything either.
John Spidaliere is the owner and broker of LancLiving Realty, a Lancaster City-based real estate brokerage serving Lancaster County. LancLiving agents advocate on issues of housing and food insecurity. LancLiving is a B-Corp.