By Meredith McCulloch
At their October 6 meeting the Selectmen appointed Kris Washington, 55 Wildwood Drive, to the Bedford Housing Partnership for a term ending June 30, 2017. In an interview Washington explained his interest arose from attending various town meetings, including a recent charrette on possible use of the Coast Guard housing. Many of the topics that interested him were around housing, so he is stepping forward. “It is one thing to sit on the sidelines and comment and another to participate,” he said.
Selectmen Mike Rosenberg explained the work of the Partnership, which has the combined responsibility of the former Fair Housing and Affordable Housing committees. The five-member committee administers state programs that provide affordable, subsidized rental housing for people of low income.
Washington said he grew up in affordable housing, and “it is very important that we can see the impact here.”… “I think potentially there is much myth around affordable housing.”
Selectman Margot Fleischman asked, “Your comments at meetings show that you wonder whether we need to be significantly above the state average in affordable housing. How would this work on the committee?”
Washington replied, “To be perfectly open and honest with you…I offer my perspective. I’m a novice to it, [but] I represent the point of view of someone with young children.”
Rosenberg commented, “One thing that is challenging is anticipating the impact of housing.” He recalled that he served on the School Committee when the Town considered the addition of condos and apartments along Middlesex Turnpike. “That a school bus would be needed there was never anticipated. We all agreed that the units would not include many young school children. No one had small children. Perhaps if someone had, they would have said, ‘I have small children and it sounds attractive to me.’”
Rosenberg went on to say that the town doesn’t try to simply hit an arbitrary number of affordable housing units, but to provide needed housing; “One of the things I’m most proud of is that we have eight units of Habitat for Humanity housing. How many towns of this size can say that? “
Correction: October 9, 2014
This article incorrectly named the committee to which Kris Washington was appointed by the Selectmen; Washington was appointed to the Bedford Housing Partnership, not to the Bedford Housing Authority as originally stated.