Bowling Green community members band together with plans to tackle the affordable housing crisis

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Bowling Green has grown by 23% since 2010, and the community is putting in the work to figure out the next steps.

“I would hesitate to use ‘housing crisis,’ but if we’re not careful we could end up there very quick,” said Planning Commission Executive Director, Ben Peterson, at Mondays Focus 2030 Comprehensive Plan Session.

Alongside Peterson were four other key players in the building, housing and rental markets.

One speaker was Brent Childers, who is the director of Neighborhood and Community Services for the city of Bowling Green, and one topic he touched on was how different homes are today from what they used to be.

“If you go back to 50 years ago of what that first time homeowner house looked like versus the first-time homeowner house now. That’s a different house. It’s a different way of construction, it’s a different amenity level, it’s a different everything. That house is not the same as it was 50 years ago,” said Childers.

President of the Realtors Association of Southern Kentucky and real estate agent, Angi Cline, spoke a little more on inflation, and how it has directly affected the housing market.

“Just as far back as August last year to this year, housing prices are up 20.6%,” Cline said. “Inflation is definitely affecting the buying and selling of homes.”

Cline called the sudden raise in listing prices “astronomical.”

Gabe Weaver, with the Builders Association of South-Central Kentucky, spoke about why home prices have skyrocketed and how it’s greatly affecting the building of them.

“In housing, it’s estimated that for every $1,000, the price of a home goes up,” Weaver said. “That knocks out roughly in the state of Kentucky 2,200 buyers.”

Weaver goes on to speak more on the 250% inflation of lumber while also discussing the issues people are experiencing from labor shortages.

The panel, along with roughly three dozen community members, worked through understandings of how the city planned to tackle this issue.

“We are looking at every possible scenario to figure out how we can do this and not just get the price down but build a good solid house that people can afford to live in,” said Rodney Goodman with Habitat for Humanity.

Through vouchers and loans to lower the costs of homes, the panel plans to keep up with raised housing prices-in efforts to make Bowling Green a place where people would want to purchase their forever home.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17.