Friday, August 19, 2022
UncategorizedCorby Fight Highlights Challenges of Military and Police Housing

Corby Fight Highlights Challenges of Military and Police Housing

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An ongoing dispute over a new housing development in Corby is shedding new light on the challenges of providing housing for both service members and police. The project in question is intended to provide affordable housing to ex-military and their families in a joint effort between Corby Council and the Help for Heroes charity.

Reports say that Corby Council received as many as 300 complaints from nearby residents when the project was first proposed. At a meeting held in mid-January 2019, just one local resident showed up to voice her objects to the project.

It now appears as though the project will go ahead as planned. When complete, it will consist of 4 three-bedroom homes, 6 two-bedroom homes, 4 bungalows, and 4 one-bedroom flats. The project will also include a visitor parking area and a single parking space for each home. The home’s will be leased to ex-military and their families rather than sold.

(C) Ozzy Delaney

Not in My Backyard

So, what were the complaints filed by concerned citizens over the Corby project? They are too numerous to list here, but they included most of the typical objections you see with these kinds of projects. For example, some complained of a loss of privacy among families who already live there. Others complained about parking issues, potential flood risks, and the environmental impact of the project.

The one person who showed up at the January 15th meeting expressed concern that the town was already big enough. She insisted that adding the new housing would put more pressure on local services to the point that they might not be able to continue providing the same level of service.

In the end though, the objections seem to be nothing more than not in my backyard (NIMBY) syndrome. NIMBY syndrome is a tongue-in-cheek way to express the fact that we all want affordable housing but none of us wants that housing built near where we live.

Housing for ex-military is often subject to NIMBY syndrome. Why that seems to be the case is not clear. What we do know is that projects of this sort face opposition no matter where they are proposed. NIMBY syndrome is just one of the many challenges that make it difficult to build affordable housing for ex-military.

(C) Robin Webster/Council Housing, Strood/CC BY-SA 2.0

Limited Mortgage Options

Above and beyond actually getting affordable houses built is the problem of financing. Limited mortgaging options make it difficult for ex-military to buy the houses they want. So they end up letting instead. Letting does put a roof over their heads, but ex-military and their families would rather own just like everyone else.

Along those same lines, police tend to face mortgage challenges other home buyers don’t have to deal with. For example, a police officer’s income may not be as easy to demonstrate compared to some other professions. Police officers are paid a regular salary plus overtime and allowances, yet the latter two income categories are not necessarily consistent. So demonstrating income can be a bit more difficult.

Police officers also do not have a lot of time to sit down and discuss their mortgage options. They don’t have a lot of time to invest in filling out paperwork and having long conversations on the phone. The nature of their work and the odd shifts they put in make applying for a mortgage more of a hassle than anything else.

Specialised police mortgage loans are a big help to police officers looking to buy a home. They are not much help to ex-military, though. Thankfully there are mortgage brokers and non-traditional lenders who know the challenges of lending to ex-military. Just as they have developed special mortgage programmes for police, they offer very affordable and flexible mortgages to ex-military.

Creative Solutions to a Complicated Problem

The fight in Corby is not all that unusual. Across the UK we are facing a housing shortage on many different fronts. It is a complicated problem and one that requires creative solutions solve. It will not be solved if we cannot even agree that solving it will require some sacrifices.

Ex-military and their families need places to live. So do police and their families. They need housing just as much as the millions of low-income families who struggle to pay monthly rental or mortgage payments. Providing affordable housing is something we have to do. We cannot say that we need affordable housing and then object every time someone wants to build it.

Thankfully the project in Corby will proceed as planned. When it’s completed, it will provide housing for more than a dozen families. Those families will be given an opportunity to start new lives in homes that will not burden them with the stress of unaffordable payments.

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