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Kent Affordable Housing has it right
The Lakeville Journal Editorial
Even as other towns in the Northwest Corner struggle to find ways to provide more affordable housing to those in their communities, Kent has quietly and efficiently been able to add five more such units at Stuart Farm, adding to its existing 77 affordable units, a percentage of 4.62 of all town housing.
As reported by Asher Pavel last week, Stuart Farm already has 20 families interested in applying for the five new apartments, which is a testament to the need for affordable housing in the region. To its credit, Kent Affordable Housing Inc. has not only been able to build these five units, but is planning to continue to look for new funding to support more units at this location. Within walking distance of a vibrant town center, Stuart Farm is a model for the type of newly renovated, comfortable affordable housing that other towns in the region should be emulating. Who wouldn’t want to live in the downtown Kent area? With the rents at these five units slated to be between $700 and $850 a month, there will now be a real opportunity for five more middle-class families to make their homes in Kent.
It needs to be remembered, after all, that affordable housing is a middle-class issue, and mainly benefits local families, as stated on the Kent Affordable Housing website. Founded in 1990, this nonprofit organization is made up of local volunteers who believe in their mission, that people of differing economic means and stages of life are important to building a real community, where volunteer services are available and where housing is affordable for people of all professions. The work that goes into building such units is massive for volunteers, and in some towns there is a definite opposition to such higher-density cluster housing as Stuart Farm. But this is exactly the kind of housing towns need to provide if they are to attract and retain young families and working people, such as teachers, nurses, landscapers, contractors and more, who are all so critical to keeping a community healthy and active.
Kudos to Kent Affordable Housing for creating more ways to welcome people from all walks of life into the Kent community. The hard work of these volunteers will make it possible for some people to remain in the region who would have had to leave it, perhaps even after growing up in Kent. Keeping a diverse community even as Northwest Corner towns have grown from strictly rural to rural chic, in many ways, has been a challenge, and one that Kent has taken on and succeeded in overcoming.
Here’s hoping more money will be found to add on more units in the future, so that more of those 20 applicants can add to the strength and quality of life in Kent.