Affordable Housing Program in Bethlehem: First Do No Harm

I think the best way to think about the Employer Assisted Housing program in Bethlehem is that it’s layering a pretty decent idea on top of crap.

The zoning ordinance has multiple provisions that make the market prices for housing more expensive than they have to be. Without anti-density zoning rules like parking minimums, minimum lot sizes and height limits in the neighborhoods in the urban grid on Southside and Northside, the market prices would be cheaper, and lower income folks would be better able to rent or buy housing.

What’s more, the insistence on separating land uses forces people to waste money and time driving, and if they didn’t have to go outside of housing-designated areas to get food and other stuff, they’d save money at the margins.

City regulations raise the cost of living for poor people, and then you need programs like this to help a few of them afford the inflated cost of housing. It would be better to just stop making housing extra expensive in the first place.


  1. Jack Contado says:

    Always have been curious why it is impossible for poor people to live in San Francisco, one of the most progressive cities in the nation.
    Don’t they have the traditional liberal compassion, etc etc, blah blah blah

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Actually San Francisco has one of the most restrictive anti-density zoning codes. Very anti-construction, unlike Southwestern states like Texas and Arizona that actually allow their housing to grow with demand. SF, NYC and Philly need to learn from them.

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