Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

June 5, 2013

Cycling in support of affordable housing


The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

Affordable housing in the U.S. is a problem that the country will likely struggle with for the entirety of its existence. More and more is being done for affordable housing to create better opportunities for families. I am writing to spread the word and awareness of affordable housing even more.

In 2010, 9.5 million low- to moderate-income working families spent more than half of their income on housing. Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs 30 percent or less of a families income. Those two numbers just don’t match up. Additionally, 1 in 7 poor families lives in housing that is physically dangerous or inadequate.

To help reverse this problem and make a difference, 29 young adults, including myself, are giving up summer jobs and internships to bike from coast to coast to raise awareness for affordable housing. Biking cross-country is a simple way to be noticed and then spread the good word. In addition to the biking and donations to affordable housing, we will be making frequent stops along our route to physically volunteer at an affordable housing charity (most notably Habitat for Humanity). We are doing it through a program called Bike & Build (bikeandbuild.org) and our route is Central U.S.

Our route, Virginia Beach, Va., to Cannon Beach, Ore., is one of eight routes that the organization is putting on. The ultimate goal: educate as many people as we can about affordable housing issues. One way we’re doing this is by social media. I will be blogging all summer at BikingForAWheelyGoodCause.com to enlighten as many folks as I can. It’s a fun blog with fun stories and the stops made along the way but it’s also used to integrate affordable housing thinking into people’s lives.

Housing is something that is often taken for granted especially in affluent areas, like the Northeast, and I think if people took five minutes out of their day to learn more about it and see what they can do to help it, the nation would be a much better cohesive unit.

I challenge all readers to follow the organization and blog(s) to see what they can learn and how they can make a difference in their area. Despite what some think, every area has some need for affordable housing and it’s the ones with affordable housing that are in the best position to make a difference.

Joseph Kuykendall

7 Chandler Road