Take a Look Around... (Part 1)
Hope everyone has had a nice relaxing weekend. If you're household is anything like mine, we have been taking advantage of this wonderful November weather to get some much needed work done around the house. After all, we can't spend ALL our time trying to right this listing ship called New Albany. It will wear a body out.
Every now and then, we need to step back, away from the flames, and take a new look at the surrounding landscape, take in the larger picture.
There are a lot of things to be thankful for, if we look hard enough for them. Even with all the issues we are facing, and all the work that must be done, we cannot lose sight of the things that keep us going, the things that keep us here.
I believe that most of the folks who participate in the discussions we have here, are folks who truly love New Albany, and feel a 'duty', so to speak, to repair the things that are no longer working well for the City, and to improve the things that can make our community a better place to live for EVERYONE who calls New Albany home. It matters not, whether a person is a home owner, or a renter. We all have a home in this city, and the functions of the administration that runs this city affects us all. So, take a look around at your neighborhood and ask yourself, "How much of the conditions of this neighborhood are accountable to the City and the services its supposed to supply to its residents?"
We are all conscious of our immediate everyday surroundings, and we just naturally do the things that make our little spaces nice for ourselves. For those who are fortunate enough to be home owners, the constant work sometimes seems overwhelming, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Not only the costs to our pocketbooks, but to our time, and to our energy. When you have invested in a home, you do all you can to make it nice, to make it a reflection of yourself, to make it something you can be proud of. The greater the sense of investment, the greater the efforts are to protect that investment. Thus, in the neighborhoods where owner-occupied housing is greater than renter-occupied, usually, the upkeep of the homes and the yards reflect those efforts, and those investments.
Now, this is not to say that anyone who rents is a lousy housekeeper. Indeed, it can be quite the contrary. My own mother, my sister, and many of my friends are renters, and their places are always very pleasant, and very beautiful, inside and out.
However, these are folks who have 'chosen' to rent, and have chosen who to rent from, due to some of the benefits that come along with renting from a responsible property owner. Benefits such as major housing upkeep expenses, as well as the costs of things like homeowners insurance and property taxes. These expenses make a huge impact on the household income, and can be the difference that allows for the discretionary income for things that make life a little nicer.
However, there is a huge number of folks who, unfortunately, have not chosen to rent, but rather, are 'stuck' in rental housing due to the ever growing cost of home-ownership, and the limited availability of safe, decent, affordable housing. The sad part is, because of this City's lack of effective housing standards, the availability of safe, decent, affordable rental housing is also limited.
So, what's the REAL choices? Scrimp and save for years only to have the minimal down payment necessary to purchase an "affordable" home, which means it will most likely be in need of $10-$15,000 worth of repairs, or rent some strangely configured apartment that's been carved out of a once single family residence, with a landlord who's obliged to doing nothing but collecting the rent check?
C'mon, what's YOUR choice?