The group sat down for a brainstorm, examining and addressing an issue plaguing numerous low income families in America, affordable housing. The question the group had to ask each other was how can one make housing much more affordable so that everyone would be presented with the opportunity to be homeowners themselves. After the ideas presented by the group, three were decided upon as the best as voted by our peers in the class and ourselves.
Among one of our most popular ideas were providing incentives for contractors and developers to drive down costs and build these smaller, more affordable homes. Housing is an expensive ordeal to fully build and furnish, and building smaller, more affordable homes, generally is not as desirable for a construction business due to the lower profit margin generally associated with them. Offering these incentives for a business to build affordable housing options into their projects is an important enticement that would hopefully increase the number of affordable homes for the people.
Another option including and favored by our group was community involvement into these homes that would help with maintenance. Not only are homes and mortgages expensive, maintenance and general upkeep can be an additional and frustrated cost that can be diminutive at first but ultimately rack up larger bills. Teaching community involvement in helping neighbors where they can possibly help in house maintenance tasks. Additional ideas include community gardens that can help reduce overall food costs as well as increase an overall quality of life in the neighborhood. These are all simpler ideas to help reduce costs of general home costs for more affordable housing.
As voted upon by our peers in the class, and one of the groups personal favorite ideas, was the idea of shared utility costs in the neighborhoods. These tied utility bills would hypothetically drive their overall prices down for the homes. Shared costs of these bills would help lower homes and their overall expense down as the bills are tied together. These driven down costs ultimately make it more readily available to own a home as it is a less expected expense on the overall home for these families. Ultimately this idea was settled upon in the group as what we felt our strongest idea was with less worries than others, as well was well received by the class in itself during the voting.
The Weinland Park community is home to a highly crowded grid of housing. Fourth Street Farms offers the most green space in the area. Located between Summit and Fourth Street, it hosts a high density of traffic, and large housing options making it a large population. The lighting seems sporadic, and the sidewalks are square against the road with no real set back or quality width. Secured parking appears widely unavailable, resulting with people relying on walking and public transportation like COTA.
A trip to the nearest grocery store requires heading to 7th and High to stop at the Kroger on the corner. Between there lies numerous small corner stores, as well as numerous previously closed stores. 4th Street Farms finds itself the healthiest option in numerous directions for quality food. This is an alarming problem, seeing as this community is very high density, including numerous families that deserve a quality sustenance.
The number of local stores within walking distance gives a false promise of food security. Unfortunately, a rather large community has a lack of quality grocery stores that offer numerous foods for the area. This area appears to be a food swamp due to its high amount of convenience stores and plethora of fast food options provided to the west on high street. The one Kroger to the south is not adequate for the Weinland Park community compared to the other options offered to them.
Due to its high density area and lack of green space to work with and expand in, the best idea for the Weinland Park community is to work with what they are already given. As previously noted, numerous corner stores are home to nothing, just empty buildings taking up space. Renovating these buildings up to code and moving small, local groceries stores into these complexes holds numerous benefits. It stimulates the areas economy, offers numerous jobs to local residents in that area, and provide closer, quality groceries to this food swamp. The introduction of deli’s and fresh vegetables, like ones such as provided by Fourth Street Farms, makes strides in the right directions for providing a healthier standard of living for Weinland Park. As a community that has already taken good steps in the right direction in the last few years, an introduction of small local business to the area is the step in the right direction, for private sector and families alike.