Or, for a little more, you get 3 bedrooms near the golf course…

Here’s another case where a bit of math and common sense makes it easy to understand government.

The Springfield city council recently approved a project to build a 44 unit housing complex for $7 million.  If you’re not familiar with Springfield politics, it was pretty much pre-ordained that it would be given the go-ahead because neighborhood residents objected to it and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against it.

Of course, this isn’t a housing complex that some entrepreneur had decided there was a market for and wanted to build with their own financing.  This project will be government funded as they’re being built as permanent housing for people “at risk of being homeless.”

That funding works out to $159,090 per unit, and by unit they mean high-density single room efficiencies.  In Springfield, the median home price is around $105,000 — and those generally have two or three bedrooms and a yard.  Or, if we’d like to spare the homeless from lawn work, for about that same $159,000 there was a 3-bedroom condo listed for sale last week near Panther Creek golf course.

To recap, our insolvent government borrows money to give some company 50% above the median value of entire houses in a market in order to build one room units which they call, apparently without a hint of irony,  “affordable housing.”   To which one can only ask – for whom??

So it should be easy to understand that these boondoggles have almost nothing to do with helping out the poor and downtrodden members of our society and nearly everything to do with the people who will be getting in on that $7 million.  It won’t be the homeless, and it won’t be you or me.

Fortunately, the situation is hopeless, but it’s not serious.

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2 Responses to Or, for a little more, you get 3 bedrooms near the golf course…

  1. Jill says:

    Grrrr… Our government just makes me want to scream, “WHY!?!?!?” at the top of my lungs and convert to anarchism.

  2. Tom Naughton says:

    A quick scan of the classifieds in your local paper shows that a one-bedroom apartment goes for around $500 per month. According to my calculator, that means $159,000 would cover monthly rent for more than 26 years. Let’s tag on some inflation and call it somewhere between 15 and 20 years.

    So the economically efficient solution is obvious: take all the people who are “at risk of being homeless” and move them from their current apartments (they’re not actually homeless yet, correct?) into apartments that are vacant — with the city paying the rent, naturally. Then put the newly-vacated apartments up for rent. Then move the “at risk of being homeless” back into those apartments a few years from now. Then … well, you get the idea. The important thing is that with each round of moving, the politicians could be appear to be DOING SOMETHING.

    Or, if we want to keep the evil free market out of the low-income housing business, how about this:

    A few months ago, Springfield exercised a “get in line first” option and bought over 40 properties that were going to be sold for taxes at the minimum bid of about $600. Many of them have decrepit buildings on them that need demolished.

    So let’s say we spend $5,000 each on demolition, then spend another $45,000 to put up and furnish a nice Katrina Cottage, and give people the title. You’d instantly create scattered site low-income housing with owners.

    Instead we’re going to spend 159k/unit to build a future blighted property, and will still have 40 properties sitting around that we’ll be paying maintenance/demolition costs on for who-knows-how long.

    — JN

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