A timely reason to address affordable housing is the publication and support for the Race Relations and Equality Report issued by the City in December of 2020. There are multiple calls in the report for new efforts to address housing affordability:
From Mayor Patton: We must strike a balance between welcoming people to our community and the fear that comes with change. The NIMBY (not in my back yard) mentality and fear of crime and a decrease in property value can be overcome with education and planning. An AFFORDABLE HOUSING STUDY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY needs to be completed for our community. The aldermen need to think outside the box and support policies and new standards that decrease the raw costs of these projects. Young professionals, young families, single parent households, those with disabilities and widowed seniors deserve opportunities for affordable and safe housing in Edwardsville.
From Jean McGurk O’Brien: Edwardsville has a shortage of affordable housing for seniors, for people with health or physical disabilities, for others living on lower income, young adults, single adult families, etc. This disproportionately impacts people in minority groups.
- Due to the wealth gap, the cost of housing in Edwardsville is pricing us out of diversity.
- One of the biggest challenges for affordable housing builders is obtaining approval from local authorities. The approval process needs to be reviewed and updated to lessen the over burdensome application process.
- If there is political will to increase the number of affordable housing units in Edwardsville then there are county and federal resources available to help make it happen. Political will and City encouragement will increase investor interest.
- The City needs to evaluate and reduce obstacles to affordable housing projects. Evaluate the negative impact of property taxes and building fees, reducing where possible. The City can find ways to encourage (or require) builders to include affordable housing in their plans. Look outside the box. Consider code changes such as requiring diverse lot and housing sizes and leaving more community green space/less yard space.
- The City might also find ways to assist homeowners with reduced income (seniors, etc) with accessing assistance for major home repairs.
Discrimination in Housing: Our community should look at the particular housing history of our area. There have been innumerable regulations, policies and actions – many overtly racist, some with hidden racist intent, and some simply with racist outcomes, all which have created the general de facto segregation in the Metro East.
- Our city needs to review and revise all regulations which impact housing discrimination.
- Consider further investigation and data collection regarding possible patterns of housing discrimination in the City. Incorporate additional questions in survey and public listening sessions to encourage sharing of possible housing discrimination in ownership and in rental situations. If it’s happening, we want to know about it.
- Find ways to promote and encourage reporting of housing discrimination to proper authorities such as Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC
From John Cunningham: I want to thank Mayor Patton and the Alderpersons for allowing our committee to address this worldwide concern among the people of our community and the world. Very important to our progress will be the continued dialogue with the focus groups that we engaged. They seemed open to recognize the lack of inclusion of marginalized persons in their arena and may need prompting or assistance to open their agenda to seek and allow broader participation from the community. Failure to embrace the humanity of racial diversity may cause our cities and country to slowly implode. The greatest enemy has always been the enemy within our own person.
The Race Relations and Equality Report is available through the City of Edwardsville’s website:
Race Relations and Equality in Edwardsville
"At first glance, the average passerby would think that everything was wonderful in the community of Edwardsville. In fact, some half-jokingly have said it looks like a modern day Mayberry. Thriving businesses, clean streets, bustling downtown, busy parks, excellent schools, and dedicated public safety professionals, are not part of a pretty picture, they do really exist here.