A Place Everyone Can Call Home
A New Plan for a Safe and Affordable Lexington
Our city is becoming less and less affordable to live in every day. We have seen one of the largest year-over-year increases in housing costs in the country, with a 34% increase in rental costs since March of 2020.
If left unchecked, this kind of growth leads to increased crime and homelessness, and pushes people out of our community and into the surrounding counties.
We must address our population growth intentionally, and this is why I am announcing the Affordable Lexington Initiative (ALI), a comprehensive set of policies that I intend to implement as Mayor to address this growing issue.
The ALI can be broken into three parts: Supply, Support, and Sustain.
The single biggest factor in determining the cost of living is the amount of available houses at every level. As Mayor I will streamline the administrative process with our planning department and place an emphasis on several zoning changes that allow more complete neighborhoods to be developed. If we are to reduce the cost of housing to the residents of our city, we must implement intentional development practices that balance both growth and infill to prevent sprawl while protecting our precious farmland.
Many neighborhoods are losing their identity as people are forced to move due to gentrification and increased costs. At a time when over 50% of our workforce does not live in the city, we need to take measures to protect the established communities we have. As Mayor I intend to create a Support Zoning classification, incentivizing businesses and amenities to locate in the areas that need them the most. We have areas that lack basic infrastructure, like access to a food market, which makes it difficult for neighborhoods to stay intact. Through strategic planning and collaboration we can offer customized incentives for the kinds of development most needed to allow a community to thrive.
The creation of affordable housing is necessary to address the rising cost of living to everyone. Currently through the Affordable Housing Trust the city increases the number of units created every year, but for this to continue it will require a dedicated funding source. As Mayor I intend to address this issue by working with community leaders to bring this issue to a public vote, via a referendum on the ballot. Similar to the vote on Lextran, an additional nickel in property tax to sustain this program would be up for public debate. The overall savings in housing would far exceed the additional cost, but I feel it is important to ask the public for their input any time we talk about taxes, which is why I intend to have a vote on the matter.
Everything is connected, and we cannot have a safe Lexington without also working to make our city affordable. These ideals are things I have pushed for since I joined the council, and as Mayor I will make sure that our development policies are centered on addressing the needs of our people, and work towards reducing the violence by providing much needed housing opportunities to our residents.
Working to Eradicate Homelessness
We have an amazing support network of nonprofits in Lexington working to address and eradicate homelessness. We need to increase the coordination between these groups to provide greater access to health care, particularly mental health and substance use services. We also need to shore up the training-to-employment pipeline while removing barriers to housing, such as the intensive initial costs needed to secure a home.