“It’s not right, it’s never been this bad. Do you know how depressing it is to have people lined up needing a place to rent? And having to say no or not being able to have a place for them to rent?…..I’ve read every excuse in the book. The truth is, our leaders don’t want it. Our state doesn’t want it.”
– Neil Johnson
by Neil Johnson
Reading the Valley Reporter and discussing housing brings sadness to me. Since I began working in real estate in 1986 there have been studies, money spent and more money spent about creating affordable housing. In reading the paper today, yet more money to be spent. What of it? There is a housing squeeze of epic proportions. Let’s just talk about the last three weeks of activity in my office.
I’m acquaintance with three people who are homeless, bouncing around. These people have jobs, living in their cars, surfing sofas. We rented a condominium last week for $950 per month. I had 30 qualified people to enjoy the place, from in town and within an hours driving distance. Within 1 hour of posting on craigslist I had twelve inquiries. If I were not banned from Front Porch Forum for stating obvious expenditures of a pocket park, I’m sure I would have had many more. There were many people I knew and knew would be good tenants, but I only had one place to rent. It’s not right, it’s never been this bad. Do you know how depressing it is to have people lined up needing a place to rent? And having to say no or not being able to have a place for them to rent?
The proposals before you are not for the average working person. They are subsidized housing.
Meanwhile the working, retired, single person has nothing to option. It used to be we all got along. In East Warren, there were trailers, modest homes next to mansions, no issues. Now we only have mansions.
If we were allowed to build, given the green light to build affordable housing, similar to the Commons in Moretown, I could fill it in 5 days’ time. If we allowed boarding homes people could have an affordable room to rent. A modest home is the foundation for financial stability, for family stability, for prosperity. Yet here in the Valley, here in Vermont, we’re making it almost impossible. We are creating our own problems and many people are getting rich off keeping people poor.
I’ve heard every excuse in the book. the truth is our leaders don’t want it. Our state doesn’t want it. Those that write the regulations, based upon Agenda 21, signed by George Bush, don’t want home ownership. The are all promoting lies and excuses to make lots of money and have everyone renting from the state or their cronies. It’s a great inside game if you are connected. We could have decent affordable home ownership; these are good people, we’ve lost sight of the simple American Dream.
I’ve been to the committees, I’ve been involved, I’ve offered solutions, it goes back to (according to them) we need subsidized housing and a sewer plant in Waitsfield, a la Agenda 21. Sadly those with the power to make decisions don’t want modest home ownership, it’s that simple. It’s coming from the state down too, make no mistake. People are making a ton of money building rental properties, subsidized by the state (you) for building, permitting, paying the rent, etc….at $525 a square foot. To put that expense in perspective, the latest luxury condominiums built were around $423/sq. ft. (This is the reason we don’t have home ownership, people are making a lot more money off subsidized housing! It’s a poverty trap to boot!)
It’s a Vermont problem, it’s a problem created by our own doing. It is not just a Valley problem. It’s a sad situation that could be solved with no money in about 6-18 months across the entire state, if we only wanted to solve the problem. We need the ignore the mandates from the United Nations, Agenda 21 and get back to the American Agenda, home ownership.
Neil Johnson is owner of Johnson Real Estate Group in Waitsfield. He is a former candidate for the House of Representatives. Scott Webb/Unsplash photo of small home with a white picket fence – now unaffordable to many Vermonters, either to own or rent.