In The News: Can you afford Martin County?

TC Palm Gil Smart: Martin County’s a great place, if you can afford it

Bob Durst is President of the charity Can We Help Inc. and a recently-appointed member of Martin County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. The committee helps oversee the disbursement of state funds to rehab homes and provide down-payment assistance, and Durst says the funds definitely help. But he worries that “the problem has not been addressed holistically.”

For homeless people, the goal may be to get them into a shelter. The working poor may need rent-controlled housing and job training. Elderly residents may be loathe to leave an existing home they can no longer maintain because they can’t find an affordable alternative.

“There is no single answer,” Durst said. But the first step is acknowledging that there’s a problem.

Affordable housing is a polarizing topic. If you can’t afford to live where you want or need to, you’re probably going to think it’s a problem. If you can, and if high and rising property values benefit you, you may find the issue less pressing. And no one ever wants “affordable housing” built right next door.