Dilute Concentration of Public Housing in Rockford: The New Towne Affordable Housing proposal still failed to adequately address the issue of poverty concentration in our community. If Rockford wants to seriously combat the concentration of poverty in affordable housing, we must work toward increasing opportunity for affordable housing residents without concentrating poverty in our neighborhoods. Affordable housing should exist in a greater number neighborhoods across the city and in less concentration. Because we know crime doesn't chase affordable housing; for too many years derelict public officials put public housing where crime was already a nuisance.
Expand Community Building to Engage Neighborhoods: Our communities across America are growing increasingly segregated by not only race, but by class. The 2nd Ward is largely a middle-class ward with some yet struggling neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that retract become more isolated and more impoverished. Other places where neighbors engage neighbors are much more likely to prosper. We have numerous resources in our ward, among them the Mosaic Church, Tabor Lutheran Church, Swedish American Hospital, Lincoln Middle School, and Edgebrook Plaza. Let's leverage these resources to improve our neighborhoods.
Utilize Vacant Buildings to Promote Home Ownership and Affordable Housing: Other Rust Belt cities have become creative in their struggle to mitigate the negative effects vacant buildings have on a neighborhood. Gary, Indiana, for example, has sold distressed properties owned by the city for $1 to residents who pledge to renovate them to standard over a period of five years. During that time, the homeowner pays no property taxes, and after those five years, a new homeowner lives in a renovated house that increases the city's tax base. Complicated problems require creative solutions. We need more of this in Rockford.