“If we want to make housing affordable, targeting existing homes is a cost-effective strategy,” said Lincoln Mayoral candidate Jeff Kirkpatrick in announcing policy initiatives he would pursue if elected.
“The challenge in affordable housing is not only about building new homes, but it is also about ensuring livable conditions in affordable housing that already exists,” Kirkpatrick said. “We need to place more attention on the residential maintenance code so homes remain both affordable and livable for families.”
“As City Attorney, a big focus of my work has been on public safety. We need to broaden that definition to acknowledge housing conditions as a critical component of the safe community,” Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick believes enhanced residential maintenance can be accomplished by hiring additional Building & Safety staff to enforce existing codes and manage increased workload, “Increased inspection will lead to more homes that are safe, livable, and affordable.”
“Additional staff would also allow us to better enforce neglected building ordinances that provide a process for properties that have been vacant for two or more years. Getting these properties back into shape is also a cost-effective solution to affordable housing,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick suggests that partnerships are the key to affordable housing. “The City and Lincoln’s landlords need to team up to attack this challenge. We can work together to identify properties that can be rehabilitated in conjunction with our community’s outstanding non-profits like NeighborWorks and the Lincoln Housing Authority.
“My first budget will focus on public safety: more firefighters, more police officers, and more funding to improve rental housing conditions and affordability. Affordable housing is one by my back-to-the-basics platform that will improve life for all Lincoln residents,” Kirkpatrick concluded.