| 2 min read | Mayor Shawn Keough, City of Dexter |
Note: Mayor Keough of Dexter included his thoughts regarding the proposed Avalon housing development on Dan Hoey Road in his report to city council on July 8. The following is what he had to say. The original can be found here beginning on page 62.
Over the past several weeks, I have been trading emails with a resident (Jamie Griffin) concerned about the location of this potential development, particularly the proximity of the Dan Hoey location as it relates to the Dexter Community Schools. Initially, she just asked some questions and asked for the background on how the City and Avalon decided to enter into an agreement to sell City property on Dan Hoey to Avalon for the purposes of creating affordable housing and supportive housing in the City.
Faith in Action had previously been looking at this location and is a partner to Avalon in this effort. Please understand that there are still many steps for Avalon to go through and securing funding is one of them. They needed to show that they had control of the property in their application for funding, thus the City entered into an agreement with them so they could pursue the funding.
Since Ms. Griffin expressed some concerns over the location, I thought it was important to touch on this topic a little in my report.
In a recent communication, Ms. Griffin alerted City Council that she has recently published a letter to the editor in the Sun Times and is apparently starting a petition to ask City Council to reconsider this development.
Avalon is holding an “open forum” on July 16th to address community concerns and answer questions about the development. I encourage all interested citizens to attend to meet representatives from Avalon and Faith in Action and to ask any questions that they have.
From my perspective, supportive housing should be close to the community, close to the schools, close to the shopping centers and to the public areas, and to public transportation. One of the primary goals of supportive housing is to create a stable home environment for those that don’t have the means to provide it for themselves and their families without some sort of help.
If the supportive housing is located further away from the core community that can provide access to basic needs, then that goes against the primary purpose of creating a stable home. Many of these families will have children that will benefit from the proximity to the school system. Kids living in the supportive housing are going to benefit from the close proximity if they choose to walk or bike to school.
The nearby location allows them easy access to the schools. It helps these kids get to school and increases their time spent in a stable environment. In addition to the support services that Avalon will be providing, from my perspective, having walkable access to grocery stores and other services makes it easier for these families to provide for themselves and have
access to healthy foods.
Faith in Action may provide some nutritional support for these families as well. But overall, if the families are eating well and in a stable environment, it is more likely that they will be healthier and require less emergency services or healthcare.
Some people reading about this topic for the first time, may wonder, “do we need to have additional housing of this type in our community?” I believe the answer is “Yes”. The reality is that the Dexter community already has people in need of some type of supportive help, and many of those people are part of family units that need community support. They may be living with a spouse, a parent, a sibling or a friend already. This is very difficult to actually track, but it is my belief that this situation exists today.
While some may already have the support that they need, there are likely others who need supportive housing, affordable housing and the opportunity for a stable home. I believe this Avalon project increases the opportunities for adding stability in our community. And I believe that is a good thing. Please contact me with any questions you have on this topic.
Mayor, City of Dexter