Work together to address Crestwood Ridge concerns

Anthony Corey prays during Palm Sunday service at Immanuel Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Mar. 20, 2016. Anthony, his mother Kathy and brother Michael moved to Cedar Rapids last fall after caring for a loved one in Nevada. The family coffers ran out after a short time and the three nervously faced a stint without a home until the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter took them in and helped them get back on their feet. The brothers both live with disabilities and Kathy is a retired nurse, but Michael is studying to earn his high school diploma and attend college. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Anthony Corey prays during Palm Sunday service at Immanuel Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Mar. 20, 2016. Anthony, his mother Kathy and brother Michael moved to Cedar Rapids last fall after caring for a loved one in Nevada. The family coffers ran out after a short time and the three nervously faced a stint without a home until the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter took them in and helped them get back on their feet. The brothers both live with disabilities and Kathy is a retired nurse, but Michael is studying to earn his high school diploma and attend college. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

We are glad to see that five units in the proposed Crestwood Ridge apartment complex will be reserved as supportive housing for homeless Cedar Rapids families.

Today, there are only eight supportive-living housing units for the general public in Linn County. Needed nearly as badly are the roughly three dozen affordable units that comprise the bulk of the project proposed for 1200 Edgewood Road NW. The developer — Minnesota-based non-profit CommonBond Communities — has a mission of providing affordable housing and successful track record with similar projects.

Scattering this type of small, multi-income housing project throughout the city is far preferable to building such housing in only a few concentrated areas of the city. And there are few locations within the community offering the advantages of the Edgewood Road site. The land is city-owned with public transportation, schools and retail nearby.

Owners of single-family homes and other properties near the site have raised some valid concerns about some details of the proposal. CommonBond housing manager Justin Eilers told us this week that developers are eager to work with residents and the city. The group is planning another community meeting, perhaps before the end of this month.

In upcoming discussions, developers should explain how they plan to manage potential issues such as stormwater runoff and traffic congestion. Neighbors should listen to the project managers with open minds and an eye for finding mutually agreeable solutions to concerns.

Housing security is key to stability in all areas of life: from employment, to health, education and family structure. Lack of safe, affordable housing doesn’t only negatively impact those individuals and families without a decent home, but comes at a real cost to our entire community.

Crestwood Ridge has been awarded $8 million in federal housing tax credits and will serve as demonstration project for the Iowa Finance Authority’s Housing for Homeless program. It stands to be not only one critical piece in the fight to end homelessness in The Corridor, but also easily could serve as a model for other communities to follow in their own efforts to ensure that every resident has access to safe and stable affordable housing.

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