Siegel: Some truths about housing

Having followed the progression of the debate on affordable housing in Aspen for a long time, the hardening of positions, and the resulting crisis facing us now was predictable. 

Seemingly lost in the endless back and forth are a few truisms that, if acknowledged by all sides, could bring the community into better alignment. 

First, those critical of the system are in fact strong proponents of affordable housing. They seek expansion, better management and efficiency, not reduction or elimination.

Second, the “class warfare” so often bandied about ignores that the most important “class” are those workers patiently waiting for housing and essentially barred from entry by the existing policies favoring those already in the system. That is the group willing to invest in the future by making Aspen their home. 

Third, historically the mission has been affordable housing for workers. That does not mean housing for life.

Rather than bicker, let’s agree on central concepts  and start turning this program core to Aspen’s vitality in the right direction. It takes collective leadership, where will it come from?

Neil B. Siegel