Building Sustainable Communities the INHS Way
Sustainability is not a new concept for INHS. For more than 30 years, INHS has been working to create communities that offer hope and opportunity to a wide range of people. INHS doesn’t attempt to solve all of the problems of our society, but it does focus on several of the most important ones: housing and neighborhoods.
INHS takes a comprehensive approach to housing and community development, with each program contributing benefits that advance the long-term health of residents and the viability of our communities. INHS continually weighs important questions such as: how can we make the best use of limited resources, how do we maximize benefits to people in need and what produces the best long-term solutions to difficult problems?
Here is how INHS thinks about creating a sustainable future:
Sustainable housing means making both rental and owner housing safe and affordable over the long term. Through education and counseling, INHS matches families with homes that they can realistically afford to live in, including the long-term costs of maintenance, utilities and health. A very important aspect of making housing affordable is that when families pay a reasonable amount for their housing, they can still afford to pay for other expenses and build wealth.
Sustainable neighborhoods mean upgrading housing and physical conditions to create attractive, welcoming communities. Building a sense of pride in neighborhoods helps people become stakeholders who participate in civic affairs and work actively to improve their communities. Stable communities mean less demand for government services and more satisfaction for residents.
Environmental sustainability means building high quality, energy-efficient homes that make use of safe and sustainable materials. The long-term investment in quality homes produces lasting benefits to homeowners and the environment. It also means building homes in smart growth areas that can reduce transportation costs, environmental degradation and urban sprawl.
Public sustainability means making responsible choices about the management of the valuable public resources that help to create affordable housing. INHS is committed to maximizing the impact of public subsidies through the responsible stewardship of these funds. The INHS Community Housing Trust program is an example of how INHS creates long-term impact from housing subsidy programs.
Economic sustainability means job creation and business development through the millions of dollars of housing construction and rehabilitation that is fostered by INHS. Through the efforts of INHS, local governments benefit from a growing tax base and local businesses reap the benefits of new customers.
There are no easy solutions to the issue of creating sustainable communities. There are, however, good choices and bad choices. INHS tries hard to understand the issues and make the best choices to produce lasting benefits. In an environment that is constantly changing, this means that we constantly have to understand, adapt and act on new threats and new opportunities. It’s an exciting challenge.
-- Paul Mazzarella, Executive Director
Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services
Tompkins Weekly, 2/7/11