Six thousand people in Flagstaff have a need for affordable housing. I do not know the exact breakdown of this count; nonetheless it is a significant number.
The city council had an opportunity to continue the conversation on turning the empty lot of 7.1 acres, formerly the Public Works Yard, into affordable housing. Councilmember Whelan suggested a tiny home type of development, which means that on 7.1 acres about 14 to 15 tiny homes can sit on that property. Fourteen to fifteen couples or single people can live on that property; to some council members helping out such a small number of people means nothing.
Many residents of that area came and voiced their concerns regarding affordable housing. And, here we go again, the us versus them issue. Comments such as “I am for affordable housing, but this is not the right place for it” or “those people needing affordable housing… the increase in traffic… etc., etc., etc.”
The residents are equating affordable housing with low-income stereotypes such as crime rates, poverty rates, low morality, uneducated, drug and alcohol use and abuse, or whatever you wish to name it. One man even cited history regarding a complex that cut into the forest areas that was once used to house military personnel during WWII; that complex is now subsidized housing right on Thorpe Road.
One council member, who stated that he ran on the platform of affordable housing, voted against it because we need to save the open spaces and parks areas, but I guess we do not need save people that are homeless or living in substandard housing. One person even stated as to why no one there advocated for this measure. That’s simply because those needing affordable housing are working two to three jobs to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck and do not have the time to come in convince a bunch of biased and Chamber of Commerce puppet councilmembers.