Category Archives: Economic Development

Where work pays: How does where you live matter for your earnings?

Source: Where work pays: How does where you live matter for your earnings?

I saw this yesterday. Lot’s to digest. The biggest thing has to be the low average earning potential for people between 25 and 34 years old. At $37,974 annually, a single person, no children, could afford to pay $950, including utilities, monthly.

Today, Zillow sent to me two small apartments, one-bedroom by floorspace standards, one for $1795 monthly, the other for $1350 monthly. Hardly in range for that average young worker.

We clearly need a new approach to making Dennis “affordable” small “a”. This does not mean focusing solely on subsidized “Affordable” (capital “A”) housing, but looking at overall housing supply and how we use that supply.

The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust and Dennis Economic Development Committee are working on tools to address overall affordable living arrangements. Specifically, the two town committees want to see greater opportunities for the use of Accessory Dwelling Units and for Collaborative Living Spaces.

Accessory Dwelling Units can be a rental unit created within a principal dwelling or an accessory structure on a lot with a single family home located on it. The Accessory Dwelling Unit needs to be clearly accessory to, and subservient to the main dwelling on the property.

Collaborative Living Spaces are shared living arrangements. Ostensibly house sharing arrangements. In Dennis, the “Golden Girls” are illegal. Four unrelated individuals cannot live as a family unit for affordable living. The Collaborative Living Space proposal will allow for more creative uses of some of our larger properties.

Here are some numbers to support these needs.

All 2016 data

37.7% of all households in town are single person households
21.5% of all households are a single person 65 years old or older
1.3% of all households are single people age 15 to 34
7.7% of all households are a single woman, no husband present, with children
1.8% of all households are a single woman over age 65, no husband present, with children under age 18 (presumable grandchildren)
4.5% of all households are a single male, no wife present, with children
0.9% of all households are a single male over age 65, no wife present, with children under age 18 (presumable grandchildren)

We have 6,933 households, so in real numbers

2,614 single person households, these are potential residents for ADU’s or Collaborative Living situations.

1,491 single person households are age 65 and over, perfectly fitting the “Golden Girls” or “Golden Guys” scenario. If the Collaborative Living proposal could attract 100 of these into four-person households, we would open up 75 housing units for younger families, without new construction.

90 single people are aged 15 to 34. The Brookings Institute reports that the 25 to 34 year-old portion of this demographic earn an average of $37,974 which means they can only afford to pay $950 per month for rent and utilities. Clearly another target for ADU’s and Collaborative Living. Four people in this group could generate as much as $3,800 in monthly living costs and would create a household with nearly $152,000 in local spending power. This latter number clearly should dismiss the idea that Collaborative Living will promote party house atmospheres.

*  584 households are a single woman, no husband present, with children
*  125 households are a single woman over age 65, no husband present, with children under age 18 (presumable grandchildren)
*  312 households are a single male, no wife present, with children
*  62 households are a single male over age 65, no wife present, with children under age 18 (presumable  grandchildren)

This adds up to 1,033 households with only one wage earner raising children, 187 of these are age 65 or over, possibly on a fixed income.

Accessory Dwelling Units and Collaborative Living arrangements address housing supply and look at small “a” affordable options by matching needs and supply. These are not deed restricted housing, subsidized housing, or units that will ever be added to the State Housing Inventory. However, they could clear a portion of the need.