Editorial: Housing authority offers promise
We’re behind the county’s move Tuesday to form a local housing authority ” but not necessarily in the form the commissioners currently envision.
There are a number of ways to create and run housing authorities. It could be by project, it could be as part of the normal county government (which is what’s just been approved) and it could be a multi-jurisdictional authority.
This last option is likely the best from our point of view, because it creates a separate governmental entity ” much like a school board ” with its own board of directors, specific mission and a charter that dictates what it does, how it does it and how it funds its activities. What’s more, it is created through intergovernmental agreements that would conceivably bring the towns and the county to the table on an equitable basis.
The housing authority approved by county commissioners this week is, nevertheless, a good place to start. It probably asking too much to get all the towns and the county on board right away, and the county now has the ability to show what a housing authority can do on this smaller scale. With any luck, a string of workforce housing successes will pave the way toward that multi-jurisdictional authority that ultimately makes the most sense.
After all, workers don’t pay all that much attention to town and county boundaries, which means it’s a countywide problem that requires countywide solutions.
Yes, this is another layer of bureaucracy. But we believe the benefits of a housing authority outweigh that negative. Put simply, an authority has more power and tools at its disposal to confront what the community has identified as its most pressing problem. As the county moves forward with the idea, we hope more partners jump on board in the years to come and that a reliable and equitable source of funding can be put in place to keep the authority running.
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