In the past 12 years, Hyattsville been more home to me than any other place that I have lived. While most of our family resides elsewhere, we have found new family here in Hyattsville. Our neighbors are people that we have shared fun, food, drinks… but also our joy and our grief, our love and our loss. Hyattsville people have gone above and beyond for my family and I want nothing more but to be able to do the same for them. These are people we have come to rely on to not just watch out for our kids, but also help raise them. I can’t imagine living anywhere else after what I have found in Hyattsville.
It’s true that everything changes and so must the people and places we love; some even say “you can’t go home again.” Change can be positive or negative and we have to be active if we want to see positive change. Part of that change is development in Hyattsville.
The mayor and council have taken a great first step into finding proactive solutions to the lack of affordable housing in the area- I truly believe that incentivizing the positive change we want to see is a practical and effective solution. The city’s matching grant program for facade improvement has been hugely successful. I think using a similar model for affordable development is wise, but I think we can take additional steps.
Montgomery county has a very successful Inclusionary Zoning program that has created over 10,000 unites since 1974. Now, while Hyattsville and Prince George’s county is undergoing an enormous amount of growth, is the time to work with the county to put similar programming into place.
Why is affordable housing necessary for Hyattsville? We already know change is happening, but we can make that change positive. What I do not believe would be positive change is to start pricing whole demographic groups out of our neighborhoods. Hyattsville is a vibrant place to live; it’s inter-generational, inter-ethnic, international, with a mix of socioeconomic levels. Once generational or socioeconomic groups get priced out, Hyattsville will become less diverse and lose many of the characteristics and strengths that we now associate with our great city.
Let’s continue to watch out and care for each other. But let’s be proactive and make that change now.