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Letter: Words and children matter

I bristle when hearing the term workforce housing. First, it’s not just a workforce, as now and increasing in the future, it’s a home for retired folk — having done their part and now retiring in place. Next, who wants to live in “housing.” We have Habitat For Humanity, not Housing For Humanity. We call people without a place to live homeless, not housing-less. Finally, having a place to live leaves out a critical component — namely child care. We are marching to metrics of numbers of workforce housing units and not hearing much about the need for child care — with critical shortages and long wait times in Eagle County.

So if “workforce housing” is too narrow without a child care focus, coupled with the names of “workforce” and “housing” are out for reasons cited above — what do we call it?

Lets “peel the onion” of the situation:

  • Workforce housing and childcare typically involve some sort of subsidy — a term with negative connotations and does not reflect all the positive aspects behind it. So how about calling the subsidy aspect of it “initiative?” That’s what it is.
  • The components of the subject at hand include the cycle of life where folks are single, marry, have children, and then retire. So how about calling this characterization “Lifecycle?”
  • Can we then combine the above into the “Lifecycle Initiatives Program?” Too weird, would never catch on? Hey, we quickly got used to the more thoughtful and comprehensive name Walking Mountains Science Center from the former Gore Range Natural Science School.

The motivation for my writing this letter goes back to the hot issue of moving a planned workforce housing complex from East Vail to a more central location. Turns out this involves getting involved with child care — relocating the town’s Children’s Garden of Learning to another location and hopefully expanded in capacity. Regardless of the situation, both workforce housing and child care are being considered together — perhaps setting a new standard and under the umbrella term of a Lifecycle Initiatives Program? 

Paul Rondeau

Vail


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