Local governments across the state and country are struggling to meet basic needs in this era of tax breaks for the wealthy and austerity for the rest of us.
Here in Orange County, we have a variety of pressing needs from overdue school maintenance to the burgeoning senior population to general poverty and housing affordability. In response, the County Commissioners decided to put a bond referendum on the ballot in 2016.
In the discussions leading up to that decision, the needs of the school systems were justifiably a consensus priority since it would be foolish to forego needed maintenance on the school systems’ infrastructure. Yet, while most of the commissioners had also expressed support for other issues - most prominently affordable housing – they surprisingly voted with little public input to dedicate the bond solely to schools.
The issue of affordable housing is receiving more attention than at any time in recent history. We have a huge identified need. We have affordable housing providers who have a proven track record of delivering successful projects. The major missing ingredient is funds.
We won’t see another bond issue for many years. Now is the time to dedicate a significant portion of the bond for affordable housing. The Commissioners can reconsider the make-up of the bond and provide the leadership we need to deliver a solid investment in affordable housing that will strengthen our communities for years to come.
Please contact the Commissioners and urge them to include affordable housing in the 2016 bond.