Barnstable County Officials Say Housing is Region’s Biggest Threat

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO and Committee Chair Paul Niedzwiecki

HYANNIS – The Barnstable County’s ARPA Advisory Committee, tasked with identifying the biggest challenges facing the region that could use the relief funding, said that affordable housing remains the biggest threat to the community. 

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO and Committee Chair Paul Niedzwiecki said it has a pronounced impact on the seasonal workforce, especially J1’s which are down 60 percent.

“That means we’ve lost 3,000 seasonal workers and that’s not a temporary problem, it’s not a COVID-19 problem that is going to be resolved at some point. It’s a permanent issue and it’s related to the housing costs on the Cape,” said Niedzwiecki. 

He also added that some of the Cape’s biggest regional challenges are also just too big to tackle with the roughly $41 million total in ARPA funding provided to the region, such as expanding broadband infrastructure. 

However, he said a piecemeal approach could help overcome the challenge. 

“We can make funds available to towns to look at creating their own municipal networks. FalmouthNet is sort of in the process of evaluating that right now. So I think that  is a good example of where some of this money can be used,” said Niedzwiecki.

The committee also highlighted wastewater as a major issue in need of funding on Cape, but added that there are multiple sources of funding available for projects through other federal and state programs, so the County’s funds should be used carefully. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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