Editor’s Note: Sandy Springs Together periodically publishes letters or comments from community members who raise a concern we feel should be considered by the broader community.
by Peggy Stapleton
The funny thing about addressing housing issues during December is that this is the month when many of us celebrate the birth of a king, a poor king — a king who lodged who-knows-where on his birthday.
To others, the images of light and warmth fill our homes at Hanukkah. To those of us of any faith who proclaim God’s love for everybody, there is a heart-rending element to the merriment of this season during these times of scarcity of available spaces to live. If you are not in the top tier of earners or inheritors, finding a secure bed for your family is an issue these days.
So then, how do we address this array of problems? Assuming we all want fairness and accessibility for everyone, what should we actually DO?
Seems to me, we should, No. 1, call attention to the situation. Granted there is a great deal of publicity about this in the national, state and local presses. But getting specific… means getting local. We’re talking Sandy Springs here
Yes, many of us enjoy a beautiful way of life here among the trees; but not everybody. We must, MUST, educate ourselves and our neighbors about the children whose parents both work, some with multiple jobs, who have to move far away and change schools because of gentrification; about the huge percentage of city employees, shop keepers, teachers, first responders, nurses and many more who would love to live near their employment in Sandy Springs but can not find housing in their price range.
Secondly, as informed citizens, we should let representatives of government know that we support their efforts to balance the needs of all citizens, for example;
- mandate affordable housing in development plans,
- preserve as many existing apartments and homes as possible,
- protect older single and multiple family dwellings that accommodate elder citizens.
These measures can be accomplished by favorable taxation, regulation, and zoning rulings, among many resources.
There are also numerous governmental and philanthropic avenues available to help finance sensible development and sustain existing neighborhoods.
Surely we can find ways to extend hospitality, graciousness and fairness to all in this little corner of paradise.