Debunking Myths - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1816638

Debunking Myths

Michael Daly, self-appointed authority on affordable housing in general, and the Concern for Independent Living application specifically, now anoints himself arbiter of “reality” and “mythology” [“Common Myths About Affordable Housing Versus The Realities On The East End,” Viewpoint, Residence, September 9]: cutting-and-pasting some general prejudices against affordable housing listed by a Minneapolis-based Habitat for Humanity (“Busted: Seven Myths About Affordable Housing”) to make them apply specifically as accusations here, absent of context, to debunk objections to what he is hawking.

Only problem is, no one made those prejudicial objections here. These are sham arguments, standard to his thinking. (Object to traffic, ergo, you’re a racist; not YIMBY, ergo, NIMBY, etc.) He issues his proclamations from his perch in Sag Harbor cosseted by a nature preserve. He wishes to frame and restrict a priori. That is his “perspective.”

In answer to his Myth 1 (affordable housing isn’t for local people), he asserts a count of local applicants (1,600-plus, 90 percent local), adding that “we” are conducting research to arrive at a complete picture of how many local residents from other East End towns are waiting for community housing.

The reality, which he always omits, is that it does not matter how many local applications there are. Legally, this housing must be open to anyone in the USA. Reality must include the count of how many applications there are in total.

Myth 2 (affordable housing hurts the environment), Daly evokes the building of monstrous compounds by the rich — “10 bathrooms, etc.” — to imply that they are what really hurt the environment, and as they undergo review (and are approved), so will the Concern for Independent Living units. Reverting to his mantra: “Adequate workforce housing will take employees off the roads, save fuel, reduce carbon emissions …” etc., he excludes from his “reality” any documentation of reduced traffic, or proof that “workers” will be living in what appears to be an assisted living facility. Excluded also is any mention of actual environmental concerns specific to the site on County Road 39. But that is to be expected from a flack’s dogma.

Myth 3 (affordable housing drives down property values): Be assured, people, and he quotes: “According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 85 percent of affordable housing meets or exceeds federal quality standards. That means affordable community housing is either on par with its surrounding neighborhood or in even better condition.” This should be noted by Tuckahoe homeowners, as well as the 15,000-square-foot, 10-bathroom ones. The reality is that the down-zoning and greatly increased density lowers property values by definition.

Myth 4 (affordable housing looks “cheap and undesirable”): Irrelevant.

Myths 5 through 7: More self-serving proselytizing.

Reality check: The letters section has an allotted word count. To be continued in a subsequent letter. Stay tuned.

Frances Genovese