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Perception versus reality

Rick Holliday talks to The Real Story today about the perception of affordable housing—especially when it is announced in a neighborhood near one’s own. Rick, the Chairman and co-founder of BRIDGE Housing, makes no bones about the fact that the general perception of affordable housing is not positive—as he says, people worry about all the things that could go wrong, and don’t imagine any of the things that could go right.

So here are a few heartening things about affordable housing to help allay the fear factor: renters in BRIDGE communities have to compete for each available unit. That means that they have to have good credit, and a good history as a renter. Because BRIDGE manages its properties, its managers know that they can’t look the other way if there is a problem. BRIDGE is judged on the basis of its existing projects every day—if a representative from a city considering BRIDGE sees a property that doesn’t measure up to the market rate stock, they have little incentive to invite BRIDGE in.

On another note, we asked Rick: is it possible to build affordable housing, and keep it green? He tells us that green considerations have been a part of the envisioning process for new BRIDGE communities for years. Rick reminds The Real Story that one of the key goals of the green movement is to help get working people living closer to their work, so BRIDGE looks at location even more closely than it looks at individual green amenities, which may take years to pay back. A shorter commute, or a commute on public transportation makes an immediate, positive impact.

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