CDP Launches Affordable Housing Public Education Campaign

EASTHAM – Community Development Partnership has launched a new public education campaign designed to address misconceptions around the people who need affordable housing on Cape Cod.

The “We Can’t Afford to Lose People Who Can’t Afford to Live Here” campaign will feature a series of ads that feature three Lower Cape residents and their struggles to secure housing.

CDP CEO Jay Coburn says the campaign is an important part of its efforts to support affordable housing initiatives.

“[It gives] voters who are attending town meetings and making important local decisions as they relate to affordable housing a stronger sense of why it is we need affordable housing on the Cape, and in particular the Lower Cape,” Coburn said.

Coburn said negative stereotypes about who lives in affordable housing gets spread around.

“That they are going to get filled with drug dealers who are going to move here from off Cape, and that is just so far from the truth and the reality about what is going on here on the Cape,” Coburn said.

Many of the people who seek affordable housing are employed in key service sectors that do not provide a salary necessary to be able to afford housing on Cape Cod, including teachers, first responders and nurses.

“Given that our housing prices are largely driven by off Cape purchasers and an off Cape economy, people who live here who are an important members of our community can’t afford to live here,” Coburn said. “And as our tag line says, ‘we can’t afford to lose those people who can’t afford to live here.’”

Large gaps remain between what the average wages are for full-time positions on the Cape and what it takes to purchase median priced homes.

“You do have families with two income earners making over $100,000 in a town like Wellfleet, Truro or Provincetown where you have home prices that are well in excess of $500,000 and are approaching $1 million,” Coburn said. “You just can’t afford to do that.”

Coburn said current housing cannot sustain younger adults who are carrying a lot student loan debt.

“Just being able to rent something here, since so many of our rental properties are just rented seasonally, creates a real gap as well,” he said.

Coburn hopes the media campaign will help galvanize Lower Cape residents to attend town meetings, get engaged in the process and move forward important solutions to address the housing crisis.

The campaign is the third phase of the Cape Community Housing Partnership which trained municipal leaders on housing production through the Cape Housing Institute, along with Advocacy Training to educate residents on how to support projects at public hearings and town meetings.

The campaign was created by Pierce Cote advertising out of Osterville and the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod has provided funding to help underwrite the campaign.

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