Affordable housing conference set for Friday

Area affordable housing leaders say they hope a daylong conference this week will lead to solutions for local affordable housing struggles.

Sally Scott, the founder of the Johnson County Affordable Homes Coalition, the group that organized the conference, said the conference, Affordable Housing a Win/Win For All, will bring together local, regional and national city planners and affordable housing advocates in an effort to share insights and search for solutions to local issues.

At 9 a.m. Friday de Cuba will deliver her keynote speech about why a decent home is like a vaccine.

“Quality, stability and affordability in housing provide long- and short-term societal benefits along the same lines as vaccines do. Vaccines are good for society and for the community because more vaccinated people means less contagious diseases,” de Cuba said. “The same sort of thing is true for housing. If we have more affordability, it’s good for the child in their development both in the home and at school, and it’s also good for their family.”

Alleviating the cost burden of high rents typically allows parents to better afford their other bills, de Cuba said, and can allow for more investment in education for their children.

“Ultimately it serves all of us if we have kids developing better who then become more productive citizens in the future. It’s both a short-term investment and a long-term investment,” she said. “It’s not just common sense, that’s really what this is about, trying to put numbers on that and say ‘here’s what it’s costing to not make these decisions, and this is what it could look like if we made better decisions and investments.'”