Have you experienced long wait times at local restaurants, had your hairdresser or barber move out of town, or perhaps your child’s favorite teacher left their school?
Chances are, you’ve experienced at least one of these scenarios or something very similar. But have you ever considered that these situations might be related to the lack of affordable housing options for people in Sandy Springs?
Our city has studied this issue for years and received advice from experts who warn that we aren’t doing enough to address the problem. While we have taken minor steps in the right direction with the recent Development Code Update and Crossroads Small Area Plan calling for creating a Housing Action Plan and Housing Commission (two actions we support), there is still more to be done.
We should approach the conversation about access to affordable housing as we do with clean water, healthy food and paved roads. Making housing attainable to people of all income levels is not a luxury; it’s essential to the economic vitality and sustainability of Sandy Springs.
Investing in more affordable housing will yield positive safety, physical and mental health benefits for residents. In return, those benefits will lead to positive short and long-term economic impact.
In November 2020, our city undertook a process to identify the economic development goals and review the market findings, risks and opportunities. The resulting Strategic Economic Development Plan emphasizes the connection between affordable housing and future economic stability and growth, mentioning the word “housing” 105 times.
As the Sandy Springs City Council and Mayor plan the city’s priorities for 2024-2025 during their January retreat, it is time to develop and implement meaningful policies and a budget to finally address Sandy Springs’ housing crisis. Simply put, providing more affordable housing options, specifically for members of Sandy Springs’ workforce, seniors and recent college graduates, should be one of our community leaders’ top priorities.
When homes are out of reach and our neighbors are forced to move elsewhere, our community suffers. Businesses lack the employees they need to maintain current operations or expand, community-based volunteer services disappear and a once-diverse and desirable community is no longer either.
We challenge you to reach out to your city council representative TODAY and let them know that you want them to make affordable housing a TOP PRIORITY.
The stakes are enormous, and the cost of inaction is too high to accept. Over the next several weeks, we will continue to explore in more detail the impact of accessible affordable housing on the economy, education and other vital aspects of our city. In the meantime, you can write or call your city council representatives and let them know that you would like for them to address this important topic during their annual retreat at the end of January. Follow this linkto find out how to contact your representative.
Let your voice be heard. Join Sandy Springs Together today!