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  • Heather PresleyCowen

Five Reasons Why Housing IS Economic Development

Welcome to the blog, all you community leaders, stakeholders, banks, and development professionals. Our topic today is one that ties in deeply with the well-being and progress of our communities: #housing. In my experience as a housing and community development strategist, I've seen firsthand that housing is not just a basic necessity, but a significant catalyst for #economic growth and stability. Here's why:

1. Housing Stimulates Local Economic Growth

Investment in housing directly contributes to local economic development by creating jobs and stimulating industries such as construction, real estate, and home goods manufacturing. Every home built is a hub of economic activity, from the salaries of the construction workers to the purchase of materials, appliances, and furniture, all of which spur local commerce and generate sales and income tax revenue.

2. Housing Attracts and Retains Workforce

Quality housing that is affordable to a range of incomes is a key factor in attracting and retaining a skilled #workforce. Communities that offer a wide range of housing options, including affordable workforce housing, are more likely to attract diverse talent, from young professionals to skilled laborers and executives. This broad talent pool is attractive to businesses looking to locate or expand, driving further economic development.

3. Housing Improves Consumer Spending

When housing is affordable, residents have more disposable income to spend on goods and services, boosting local businesses and fostering economic vitality. High housing costs, on the other hand, can lead to financial strain, reduced spending, and even population decline as residents move away in search of more affordable living conditions.

4. Housing Bolsters Capital Stacking

Housing projects, particularly workforce housing developments, often employ capital stacking, the strategic use of a variety of funding sources to finance a project. This might involve leveraging private investment, public funds, tax credits, or other sources. Such an approach not only accomplishes the goal of creating affordable homes, but it also stimulates economic activity by engaging multiple financial sectors and fostering partnerships between public and private entities.

5. Housing Enhances Community Stability

Stable housing is foundational to a thriving community. It supports local schools, fosters civic engagement, and maintains neighborhood safety and cohesion. Furthermore, property taxes from housing contribute to local public services, like schools and infrastructure, which are essential for sustained economic development.

In conclusion, housing is an integral part of #economicdevelopment. From stimulating local economic growth and attracting a skilled workforce, to improving consumer spending and bolstering capital stacking, investing in housing initiatives can help communities thrive.

Let us remember that the availability of quality housing that is affordable and located in communities of choice must be top-of-mind for communities that want to grow and thrive. It simply can't be an afterthought in our economic development strategies—it's a cornerstone. When we realize this, we can start designing and implementing policies that create a synergy between housing and economic growth, benefiting not just individual residents, but the entire community.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we'll dive deeper into how capital stacking strategies can help fund housing initiatives and jumpstart your local housing market. Until then, let's continue building communities that work—for everyone.

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