The Public Health Council serves on the Keys to the Valley Steering Committee to advocate for housing as a public health issue. This newsletter is reposted with permission to spread the news of this tremendous new resource for our community. I hope you find it as helpful as I do. – Alice Ely
Keys to the Valley Publishes Assessment of Homes and Toolbox of Solutions on Interactive Website
We are excited and humbled to announce that the findings and resources from this initiative are now publicly available on the new Keys to the Valley website (www.keystothevalley.com). We are glad to share these resources for your contemplation, conversation, and active use when considering the many challenges facing our region’s homes.
The website includes 4 major sections:
- Our Housing Challenge: A series of analyses on the current condition and need for homes – from affordability, equity, and impact of the pandemic to demographics, public opinion, and 2030 projections.
- Toolbox: Strategies and policies to promote safe and affordable homes while strengthening our communities. Organized in six action areas, these tools are intended for a variety of community partners. To support these efforts, resources are provided to advance specific strategies – including those specific to land use regulations, visualizing new homes, housing models, and an open data portal.
- Library: Definitions of terms and types of homes, suggested resources from other organizations, regional news, and more.
- Get Involved: View a calendar of events and sign up for updates delivered to your email.
We look forward to discussing and planning together for the homes our region needs in the coming months and years. A sincere thank you to our volunteers, advisors and funders, without whom this initiative would not have been possible!
In a Nutshell
The Keys to the Valley project documents our need for homes across a bi-state, 67-town region, and presents a roadmap for tackling this crisis at the local, regional, and statewide level. The scale of this challenge calls for both immediate action as well as further study and conversations.
During this project, we have come to understand several critical concepts, or what we are calling Key Understandings:
- First key understanding: Our region’s housing problem is a crisis.
- Second key understanding: This is not just a private problem with a private solution.
- Third key understanding: It is a tough problem that requires many different solutions in tandem that are fit to each place and its people.
- Fourth key understanding: New solutions and approaches are needed.
- Fifth key understanding: Solving housing needs must also solve other problems.
With these understandings of our housing crisis in mind, our committee has identified a series of actions and related tools to address the challenges facing our region’s homes.
- Action Area A: Spread knowledge of the region’s housing needs
- Action Area B: Ensure access to a safe home
- Action Area C: Sustain existing primary homes
- Action Area D: Make it easier to build homes
- Action Area E: Create the types of homes the region needs
- Action Area F: Build smart for economic health
Join the Conversation – Spring 2021 Public Events
As part of the Initiative’s launch, we will be hosting a series of virtual public presentations and conversations. We hope you will join us!
Building Smart for Stronger Communities
Wednesday, May 5, Noon – 1PM: To address our region’s housing crisis, many new homes are needed. Through thoughtful planning, we can tackle this challenge in a way that strengthens community bonds, bolsters local tax bases, and ensures quality of life for residents. This workshop will cover a variety of planning tools available to communities, including strategies around land use, transportation, infrastructure, and conservation.
Land Use Regulations
Wednesday, May 12, Noon – 130PM: Land use regulations can help our communities provide the homes needed for resident health and economic vitality; however, they can also be barriers to a community’s ability to respond to specific needs and adapt to change. Come learn about how land use regulations impact our region’s homes and strategies to better provide the homes we need now and In the future.
Homes to Get or Stay out of Crisis and Homelessness
Wednesday, May 19, Noon – 1PM: Do we have adequate housing options for our homeless? How can we do better at providing the social supports many need to maintain a stable, safe home? Come learn, share, and hear directly from our region’s social service providers.
Employer Assisted Housing
Wednesday, May 26, Noon – 1PM: A shortage of affordable homes creates many challenges for employers seeking to attract a workforce. Some employers have responded to this challenge by developing new homes themselves or investing in new home creation. Learn about strategies that employers of all sizes have undertaken to address this challenge, and how your business or organization could get involved.
Tuesday, June 11, 730 – 9AM: Are you ready to be part of the effort to improve home availability and affordability? Join residents, employers, officials, and other leaders … Learn about exciting housing approaches being used in the region … Help unveil “Keys to the Valley,” an online information tool for organizing and encouraging dozens of different strategies and tools that will help us meet this regional challenge! (Hosted by Vital Communities)
Event recordings will be made publicly on the Initiative’s YouTube.
Interested? Find out more on our website and Register for those you would like to attend.
Interested in a topic not listed? We are considering additional events for June 2021 and would like your opinion on topics. Please take this quick survey to share your interests with us.