Opportunity Works in Neighborhoods

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Southern New Hampshire University
The Village of Walden is facing an affordable housing crisis, leaving many residents in an extremely precarious, unsustainable situation, mirroring the nationwide crisis that has been amplified since the housing market crash of 2008. Hundreds of local families, particularly those making less than the area median income (AMI), are at risk of losing their homes and being displaced, which threatens to destabilize the entire community. Despite the clear need for a sustainable solution, there have been large obstacles preventing pragmatic action. According to the statewide Affordable Housing Report, the “Not In My Back Yard” or “NIMBY” ideology has been the prime hindrance to progress on the affordable housing front. Opponents of affordable housing have regularly used the “NIMBY” rallying cry to fight housing projects aimed at assisting low income families, stating that the introduction of such projects would flood the area with undesirables, leading to increased crime, poverty, and destabilization, despite lacking empirical evidence to back these claims. To combat these misconceptions, we will create the OWN program (Opportunity Works in Neighborhoods) by partnering with local organizations, which will both educate the local populace through an aggressive and creative marketing campaign, and provide affordable housing to those in need, strengthening the community on multiple fronts. (Author abstract)