Christopher Sikes and Mitch Anthony: Let’s speak with one voice about housing

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Published: 03-20-2024 6:08 PM

Modified: 03-20-2024 7:51 PM

Gina Govoni is right. As she writes in her March 7 My Turn, the lack of affordable housing is a crisis throughout the nation and the commonwealth [“Merger could help kick-start housing in Franklin County”]. And it is especially acute in rural areas facing a declining population, aging housing stock, and a lack of financial resources to build new housing.

According to the UMass Donahue Institute, Franklin County will need 1,200 new units of housing by 2025. If the new state housing bond bill is equally divided throughout the state, Franklin County will receive funding for about 400 units.

Quality housing is a cornerstone of community and economic health in Franklin County. Good and affordable housing attracts and keeps people, encourages investment in the community, and ensures a good quality of life for citizens of all ages and socioeconomic status. Govoni is right in her call to merge the Greenfield Housing Authority with the Franklin County Regional Housing Authority and Rural Development Inc. She is right to name our current approach to housing development as fractured. And she is right in observing that a coordinated entity would better serve our smaller towns as well as our county seat.

Such a merger will benefit the whole county by avoiding costly and distracting competition for resources, by reducing administrative costs, and most importantly, by focusing our voice to raise the awareness of the importance of adequate housing in rural Massachusetts.

We repeat this last point. By speaking with one voice and working in a coordinated manner, we will be better understood and we will accomplish more.

Christopher Sikes


Mitch Anthony