HOUSING IS INFRASTRUCTURE
Recently I attended two great events sponsored by two great organizations, each doing a remarkable job at making the Hudson Valley a better place to live. First was an afternoon event sponsored by the Orange County Partnership discussing and providing an update on their efforts to attract new businesses and retain and expand existing businesses in the area. One of the issues highlighted during this meeting was the need to make sure that Orange County continues to develop and expand a workforce that will be available to attract and retain successful business to our county.
The next morning I attended the Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress forum on housing in urban areas. This forum brought together national and local housing experts to outline how to increase and improve housing in the Valley’s urban areas. Among the many items of discussion at this forum was the need to recognize that decent, affordable housing opportunities are necessary for the workforce that is needed to work at and help attract those exact businesses discussed by the Partnership the afternoon before.
I was struck by the fact that although business attraction and retention and the necessary workforce go hand in hand, there was almost a totally different crowd of people at each of the events. I felt like a person who has two wonderful friends that he knows would be great together, but was having difficulties getting them together and being a matchmaker.
I am, therefore, taking to social media to make a plea to all Hudson Valley economic development engines and think-tanks to come together to share these ideas. This is especially important as it relates to the recent realization that a stock of decent and affordable housing is important infrastructure to have in place in order to attract and continue to develop a racially and economic diverse and vibrant community.
There are wonderful opportunities to share ideas and work together to outline these issues and educate our public officials, planners and developers on the importance of balanced and sustainable growth.