Here’s a problem that’s not going away—the cost of living in certain vacation destinations is prohibitively expensive. I see this in Newport as well as Key West. When there’s no place for workers to live, what happens to the service industry? When the Fed pumps too much money into the system inflation is the natural result. And when million-dollar houses and then some, are selling sight unseen, there’s too much money in the system. How is that good for places you like to visit or live? It’s not.
Read about Newport’s housing problems here from Bethany Brunelle of The Newport Daily News:
There isn’t one silver bullet to solve the housing problem on Aquidneck Island. There is a multitude of things that could be done to help fix this problem, Housing Works Rhode Island Director Brenda Clement said.
“Building and developing more units is critical, but obviously on an island and in an area where there’s restricted real estate, we’d have to look carefully at where we build and what we do,” Clement said adding that opportunities do exist, pointing to the changes being made in Newport’s North End along with military housing.
Part of the solution, Clement said, is to have towns or cities looking at what they have or what they can bring to the table to encourage more development, but also developing a much more aggressive regional strategy and regional plan about where it makes sense to build and how to address underlying issues regarding infrastructure such as water and sewer.
“Looking and rethinking commercial space and retail space. There are changes in that space happening well before COVID, but now have more of a challenge in trying to figure out how we repurpose that and we reuse that. So I think it’s a bunch of things. Clearly, the local partners and the local cities and towns need to be a big part of that conversation, and also employers,” she said.
In places like Aquidneck Island, Clement said the housing issue is really a workforce retention issue and it’s particularly important to address these issues because a lot of jobs and the economy the region depends on, are lower-wage jobs.
“So people who are providing critical services in your local economy, but are not able to keep a roof over their heads are I hope who we target with this funding and money,” she said.
Action Line: Living in vacation destinations may not end up being what it’s made out to be when it’s too expensive to live there. Take a look around and find your island of freedom. It doesn’t have to be surrounded by water.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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