Editorial: A rare housing opportunity in Marin
The opportunity to turn 36 units of surplus military housing in Point Reyes Station into publicly controlled affordable housing is one local officials should seize.
Rep. Jared Huffman, county officials, local community leaders and West Marin's Community Land Trust Association — or CLAM — are working toward that goal.
The housing was built by the Coast Guard for its crews working at the nearby communications center. But those military households now live elsewhere, living on military vouchers, and the Pentagon has told the Coast Guard to sell the property.
In the disposition of surplus federal property, paid for with taxpayer money, uses meeting other public needs should take top priority.
The need for affordable housing is just as pressing in West Marin as it is in the rest of the county. Home prices and rents have outpaced local paychecks, forcing more workers to commute from out of the county to area jobs.
The challenge is particularly daunting for young people as once-affordable units have given way to pricey homes or are now being offered as part of a growing vacation rental market. For many, this opportunity is about preventing local workers from being priced out of the community.
Acquisition of these units for affordable housing can take many of those workers, many of whom work on local ranches or in area stores and restaurants, out of those lengthy commutes.
Huffman's leadership in Congress will be vital to winning support for turning this opportunity into a reality.
Using this housing, built with taxpayers' money for an important public purpose, to fulfill another community-wide need makes sense and should be embraced by Congress.
Huffman is right when he says, "We do not have too many opportunities like this in Marin County."