Lake Geneva needs more affordable housing, and the proposal to develop a 28-unit apartment complex on Wells Street makes too much sense not to occur.
City officials should approve the housing authority’s plan and allow this development.
Let’s face it, portions of Wells Street already face significant blight. Some of the motels in the area are poorly maintained and are rented on a weekly or monthly basis. It is already a low-income housing area.
A new building will likely look nicer than many of the existing structures in the area.
This proposal would also bring more stability to the families who need affordable housing options.
The low-income housing proposal is only for an estimated 28-unit apartment complex. That’s 28 new families in a city that, according to the 2010 census, had 1,879 families.
Even if all 28 families were new to the Lake Geneva area, which is incredibly unlikely, this development will only have a marginal impact on our schools and other city services.
Many of the families who would move into the apartments are already using federal housing subsidies to live in Lake Geneva.
Low-income families already live here. In fact, about 40 percent of the students who attend local schools here are on free or reduced lunch programs. These families are already here; these apartments are just going to add stability.
Tourism is the lifeblood of our city, and many of the workers who are working in the service industry are low-income. We can’t ignore the people we need to work here.
There aren’t enough high school and college students available on summer break to fill every role in the Lake Geneva’s service industry. The business community has been making a concentrated effort to turn Lake Geneva into a year-round tourism destination. That means we need year-round employees. Many of these workers will frankly qualify for low-income housing.
People also struggle. We read about it weekly in the Time is Now column. A string of bad luck or a sudden illness can financially cripple a family in a matter of weeks. According to CareerBuilder, nearly 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
Not everyone who struggles financially is a deadbeat, or a criminal or a burden on society.
This low-income housing complex will not impact anyone’s property values in the city. It is not going to be a detriment to the nearby motels or the tattoo shop.
A lot of Lake Geneva residents live in poverty. This proposal will help some of them. The city should approve it.