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Workforce Housing

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Workforce Housing

I'm in the middle of writing a major paper on workforce housing and I thought I'd stop to share a little idea that ran across my mind. In my research I've read of a few examples of where companies are buying property for their employees to build homes for their use as workers in high priced communities. The thought of all of these school closures and relocations in Leon County then hit me.

The Leon County school board could survey the inventory of all of the property it owns in the county and for those properties not strategically located in areas where schools are needed, should be set aside for residential development opportunities -- only supporting Leon County school's teachers, faculty and staff. Let's take the old Wesson Elementary School as an example. The main building of the school can be used as clubhouse/ammenities space. A pool could be added. While the rest of the land could be cleared to make way for a unique blend of mid to high density housing designated strictly for teachers, and school faculty and staff. My mind cannot at this time fathom us, Tallahassee, needing another Elementary, middle or high school in this locaiton. Why let the space go to waste when we could get creative and provide an incentive for well trained education professionals to stay in this community. While at the same time, boosting the community's effort to boost the image of the southside.

I can think of numerous other examples of how we, as a smart city, could make it more affordable for those responsible for preserving and enhancing our quality of life to afford to live in the communities they serve. Nurses, firefighters, police officers, bus drivers, teachers and many others all deserve a fair shake at the American dream. And while land prices are driving home prices sky-high, instead of us ignoring the need to supply this critical segment of our community with the affordability of life they deserve, we should act.

I know the others of you have ideas and comments you'd like to share on this concept.

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the first thing that came to mind when i read this was the old mill towns up in new england where i am from. the mills would build housing and allow their workers to live there with certain restrictions. a 21st century version of the above could allow teachers/civil servants etc. to live in decent homes for an affordable rate. of course the idea of gov't owing housing for its employees and all it entails is disturbing for me... i would hope that maybe a private company would pick up the idea and run with it, but that has not happened yet. overall, a very interesting idea...

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The studio this semester for the DURP program here at FSU is about workforce housing for FSU employees. I'm not working on it, but I know several people who are. It will be interesting to see the results once it's completed. I know one of the places in the study to provide workforce housing is Alumni Village.

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How ironic is that!? Wow jpl! I'm actually enrolled in a URP class too. Rosenburg is my professor, I believe he's new.

This wouldn't be government owning the homes. Government would purchase the land and subdivide it for the exclusive purchase of teachers, and school board employees at a low price, to build a home of their dreams according to a predetermined plan.

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How ironic is that!? Wow jpl! I'm actually enrolled in a URP class too. Rosenburg is my professor, I believe he's new.

This wouldn't be government owning the homes. Government would purchase the land and subdivide it for the exclusive purchase of teachers, and school board employees at a low price, to build a home of their dreams according to a predetermined plan.

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are you guys in the masters program at FSU for Urban and Regional Planning? Cause i want to go into that program, i have one year left in undergraduate studies.

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I was doing some pre-grad stuff in the Urban and Regional Department. But I'm not sure that's my thing. I'll graduate next month from the school of business. I may just stay with the school of business for my masters. But the material in the URP program is very interesting if you're into Urban Planning, which most of us are.

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This is an issue that the County is looking at as well, whether it be the situation where the business sells the land to workers, or the other extreme that is taking place in Miami and the Keys, where employers are building the housing above their business locations because of the difficulties of attracting quality staff due to the cost of housing in these areas. This might also achieve the goals of having mixed use communities with big box stores as the base, and housing on a second or third floor. This might be tricky, since this is not the status quo, and people by nature resist change.

As far as the DURP program, if you are interested in a career in the Urban Planning field, go for it. As a graduate of the program, I can honestly say that it is worth the time and you will probably get quite a bit out of it.

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Just a slight follow up, today I spoke with Sheila Costigan about the idea of the school board using some "spare land" for workforce housing communities for teachers. And before I could even finish what I was saying, she was nodding and shaking my hand saying, "that's my idea and we're already working on that". Sound like the Leon County school board is one step ahead of me on this thought and are actively seeking opportunities to make this work. Her vision was exactly how I'd imagined, townhomes, garden homes, condominiums on school board properties throughout the district where teachers can commune, enhance the quality of the school, and the neighborhood.

I'm excited we've got her on the school board.

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anyone have any thoughts on the use of the so called "Katrina Cottages" for use as affordable housing? I have seen some very attractive designs and the cottages themselves are very affordable. Their small footprint also mean lot size could be reduced, land prices decreased and density increased... all very good things in an urban environment.

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I am too lazy to debate the topic (it would be a lot of research and typing), but this type of political/economic model does not work. People need to have a sense of ownership in their homes. Most countries are going away from the model of which you speak...not towards it.

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I am too lazy to debate the topic (it would be a lot of research and typing), but this type of political/economic model does not work. People need to have a sense of ownership in their homes. Most countries are going away from the model of which you speak...not towards it.

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^ I am not advocating people not owning their homes but quite the opposite. I am talking about smaller homes on smaller lots owned by the people, not the government, for a price they could afford.

hope that makes my suggestion clearer stjoe as anything vaguely reminiscent of socialism/communism makes me shudder.

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Yeah, my question as to whether SJ meant countries or counties pertained to Workforce Housing and not to the old Communist/Socialist models.

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Whether housing is owned by a county or federal govt or the company, the effect is the same.

Now, I don't have a problem with a county using zoning and some tax incentives to create the type of neighborhoods you want, but I don't believe in using govt owned property to make this happen.

I have seen govt housing in New York that would make you shudder. I have been to Norway and seen towns that once centered around a company and company owned housing and now it is just a burnt out husk of an area.

Again, I am too lazy to give this debate proper attention, but I think this is just WAY too close to the communist/socialist model.

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Whether housing is owned by a county or federal govt or the company, the effect is the same.

Now, I don't have a problem with a county using zoning and some tax incentives to create the type of neighborhoods you want, but I don't believe in using govt owned property to make this happen.

I have seen govt housing in New York that would make you shudder. I have been to Norway and seen towns that once centered around a company and company owned housing and now it is just a burnt out husk of an area.

Again, I am too lazy to give this debate proper attention, but I think this is just WAY too close to the communist/socialist model.

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I too have seen terrible gov't housing in major urban centers like NYC, Chicago and St. Louis. Many problems (of course not all) stem from the style they were built. The 50's, 60's and 70's style of urban housing was very poorly constructed and thought out from the tenants viewpoint.

Also as far as company towns go, I've seen the same in the tiny mill towns in the Piedmont area of the Carolinas and more specifically at the Del Monte pineapple plantations on Oahu. You'd not let your dog live there even if you hated your dog.

That said, I'm still in favor of some types of workforce housing. I especially am interested in the proposal that I believe TJ has mentioned about Leon County School Board and possible teacher housing. I'm not sure at all if that will happen on government land or not and exactly how it will be implemented. If we don't do that for the teachers, then we've got to pay them more for their valuable service.

It's the working class folks I'm concerned about and why I'm interested in workforce housing....teachers, firemen, police etc etc are being priced out of housing in Tally and many places in America. We are becoming even more IMHO the land of the haves and have-nots especially in places like CA, NYC, HI and even our own South FL.

Bottom line, I'm not sure or too well versed in what the solution is, but I do believe something...gov't, the private sector or a combo of both...needs to address this growing problem.

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^Welcome newcomer!

Can you provide us w/a link to the the CWHIP program that explains it a little in detail? As what does CWHIP stand for? Were any of the 11 applicants that received the award in the Capital Region of FL?

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:yahoo: Welcome to UrbanPlanet Tallahassee-Lowkota11 :yahoo:

Glad you joined us! :)

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CWHIP stands for Community Workforce Housing Innovation Pilot Program and it was developed in the 2006 Legislative session by Rep. Mike Davis and others from around Florida. Here is a little background info on the program.

Over the past two years, local and regional summits have been held throughout the state as local governments and business communities come to terms with how increased housing costs are impacting the workforce. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many in Florida's workforce, such as teachers and nurses, are unwilling to relocate to or stay in Florida because they can get "more home" for their money in states like North Carolina. There is a large gap between what a median income household can afford to pay and the cost of a median priced home in many counties. The business community, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce and many local economic development councils, and public sector employers, including Florida's military installations, have acknowledged concerns with employee recruitment and retention.

Many of these employees are living in two-earner families with incomes slightly above those served by traditional affordable housing programs. The 2006 Legislature responded to these concerns by creating and providing one-time funding in the amount of $50 million for the CWHIP Program. The purpose of the pilot is to promote innovative ways to reduce the cost of building housing and find new financing tools other than well-used housing programs to expand the affordable housing toolbox. Through financing in the form of forgivable loans, the pilot encourages development of local regulatory incentives, such as land use strategies, and involvement of non-traditional partners, such as school districts and private sector employers, which may have land or other capacity to offer for

workforce housing.

The program encourages local governments to remove regulatory barriers and adopt development processes and land use incentives to support the creation of affordable housing. CWHIP targets higher incomes than generally served through other affordable housing programs. Households with incomes at or below 140 percent of area median income (AMI) may be served, with income limits going up to 150 percent of AMI in the Florida Keys.

The pilot program has evinced strong interest from diverse entities across the state, including businesses and others who haven't traditionally participated in affordable housing programs. That, combined with data compiled about the income/housing price gap and anecdotal evidence of local impacts to businesses, all suggests that the current market is failing even those with incomes above the median. Land use and other regulatory barriers are among the complicated reasons why the market is failing this higher income group. At local workforce housing meetings, experts have indicated that the land use and development framework at the state, regional and local level has never blended well with the affordable housing delivery system

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Whether housing is owned by a county or federal govt or the company, the effect is the same.

Now, I don't have a problem with a county using zoning and some tax incentives to create the type of neighborhoods you want, but I don't believe in using govt owned property to make this happen.

I have seen govt housing in New York that would make you shudder. I have been to Norway and seen towns that once centered around a company and company owned housing and now it is just a burnt out husk of an area.

Again, I am too lazy to give this debate proper attention, but I think this is just WAY too close to the communist/socialist model.

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So it appears Evening Rose didn't get any of the money from this program. I was expecting to see them on the list.

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the FHFC awarded 11 applicants with funds to help them build affordable units across the state.

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I was somewhat involved in the Evening Rose Proposal and they did not recieve funding because the FHFC found that the project failed to provide evidence of required infrastructure availability. The infrastructure forms/evidence were absent and thus the Corporation disqualified thier application. I feel that the Evening Rose project has great potential and plan for real affordable hosuing, both rental and homeownership units. I believe that the project was for 99 "affordable units". If any of you have been out to the property, you can see that it truly is a wonderful space with alot of potential. Hopefully COT will support K2 and their bid for the funding agin this year, as they have a wonderful plan to bring affordable housing to the City of Tallahassee.

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Wow thanks for the info and update. All this time I was completely under the impression that Evening Rose was receiving these funds. Good to get the facts correct.

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