ss0516_fig1In today’s world it is amazing how we have forgotten or been mislead when it comes to definitions.  The word that intrigues me the most is the word “affordable”.  As per the Free Dictionary, the word is defined as “considered to be within one’s financial means.”  Wow, and what is more intriguing is the word “one’s”.  Nowhere does it say the government’s means, the communities means, no it says “one’s” menas as in the personal responsibility of an individual.  The world of healthcare saw the word used in the “ACA – Affordable Care Act – or commonly know as Obamacare”.  There was nothing affordable in the ACA as all it ended up providing is subsidized health insurance with the taxpayer picking up the HUGE tab as we have seen premiums skyrocket over the past 6 years to the extent the majority of Americans could never pay for healthcare premiums from their income.  In 2013 the average cost of a family health insurance plan (employer based but approx. the same of less than exchange based plans) was just under $17,000 dollars and the median family income was $52,000 thus health insurance premiums were over 32% of gross income (not including out of deductibles and out of pocket cost.  Nothing affordable in this care.  What a sad day when our journalist and reporters never even questioned or demanded thss0516_fig2e wording of the act be changed when it FAILED to meet the very specific performance metrics as defined the the designers and implementers of the act.  

The intriguing part continues because the building / construction industry is faced with this same deception when they talk about “affordable housing” and their search to figure out how to build affordably or lack there of.  It is not a coincidence the word is used and supported on a national scale.  So just what is affordable housing? Is it a house that is within one’s financial means – NOT?  Remember “one’s” does not mean one with the help of the government  or others money.  The term “Affordable housing” is just another n
ame for a government subsidized housing not different than food stamps is SNAP or an EBT card.  Our powers to be believe if you define the narrative and repeat it enough, they will believe it.  America needs to wake up and call the enemy for what it is – housing is not affordable but dam expensive for the majority Americans and solutions must be found.  

The National Association of Home Builders lays out a great case for ONE of the drivers that makes housing UNaffordable – Government regulations and interventions as shown by the different table.  ss0516_table2I believe that this is just one of the many specific areas that must be addressed is we are to succeed in developing a model for affordable housing.  I strongly do not believe that the government can do it ALONE and without “personal responsibility” being the primary driver of change, all other efforts will fail.  Once we clearly want change, we can then define our purpose as one that is beneficial and a design that is complementary to our surroundings.  With our purpose defined and our design in process, we need to evaluate each step of the process to insure one’s home is within their means.  If the home is not, then investigation is needed from fees, taxes, assessments and possible non-beneficiary restrictions and red tape  Beyond the obvious in this evaluation and what might be the single biggest expense is the lack of coordinated effort internally at the government level, externally between the individual professions and the cost incurred by the builder as a result of these inefficiencies.

Governmental agencies just might have to reevaluate their process the way the hospital industry has had to change in order to meet new government mandates in regards to customer service and outcomes.  A well built home that is affordable is the single greatest asset to a community so why would we ever want to delay such a process?  My recommendation is remss0516_fig3ove the silos and to consolidate all departments under one management with the mandate to provide the best customer service possible, in the short possible time frame, while protecting the community as a whole.  To accomplish this goal it would take model where a single person(s) is randomly assigned to each case and will hand carry the project through every department and every government agency to insure information flows back and forth as quickly as possible with the minimum amount of paid for outside professional assistance.  Possibly to the extent where some Americans could return to a time where they can build their own homes.   Service coordination is not new and is done every day with laser precision.  UPS and Fedex handle a combined 20 million packages a day with extreme accuracy to such an extent we expect perfect delivery on a perfect schedule and they do it 99% of the time.  It is time for government to redesign itself from the ground up in order to make housing affordable again.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing the cost of a house.  I firmly believe that we start with what we have to do the most we can to make it the best possible before we start changing.  More will be shared on this topic.