by William Skink
I finished the 3rd installment of my docu-series last night. This one is about burnout, trauma and the art therapy methods I’ve utilized to get through it. One of the highlights is an interview I did with a homeless man and in that short interview he gives his take on the housing problem in Missoula, which I find more compelling than the endless studies being done, like this one just announced by Missoula’s Organization of Realtors. From the link:
We believe a key piece of addressing the affordability issue is to determine why the supply of homes is not keeping up with demand. While Missoula’s location in a mountain valley provides constraints, the scarcity of land is only one of many challenges. We need to identify all of the significant barriers to developing housing affordable for working people, and we need to find solutions that the community can work together to implement.
The Missoula Organization of REALTORS® has proposed a study to do just that. We have identified an experienced professional consultant, and are forming partnerships with both private and public sector organizations as the planning phase begins. We are committed to a framework that gives partners meaningful opportunities for participation throughout the planning and execution of the study. This is critical because the housing affordability issue is a community problem, and addressing it will require the community to work together towards solutions.
Head. Wall. Bang, bang, bang…
What a crock. Asking the MOR to do a study on affordability is like asking Wall Street to do a study on why savings interest rates are so low.
Missoula has a basic problem in that Realtors and property management businesses (not to mention the government with its handling of bankrupted properties) have colluded to constrain supply to keep prices up. Basic supply/demand theory. Then there’s the issue of price-fixing in the rental market. All the fucking study will be about is how to fleece the public sector to maintain profits in the housing market and create the illusion that something is being done.
Every time I hear the MOR talk about “scarcity of land” all you have to do is point to documents like this (there’s plenty more):
“At the time of adopting the UFDA Growth Policy Amendment, developable land totaled 5,218 acres inside the URSA, with a potential build out, based on existing zoning, of 30,335 dwelling units.”
Yeah, enough land for 30k+ dwelling units. Study that MOR!