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LETTER: Lattimore focuses on housing in city’s mayoral race

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  • Digital Team 

Editor’s Note: The following is a letter to the editor. It was not written by any member of the team. To share letters or other op-eds for publication on please send them to [email protected].

One of the cornerstones of a healthy community is homeownership. A community’s homeownership rate is a reliable predictor of its stability, citizen involvement, voter turnout, crime rate, highschool graduation rate, income, poverty rate, & population growth. 

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

In a healthy community, the average homeownership rate is 65%-70%. Neighboring towns; Weedsport – 71.8%, Port Byron – 69%, Skaneateles – 68.1%, Elbridge – 81%, Cayuga – 81.6%. According to the U.S. Census, the national homeownership rate is hovering around 66%. Even during The Great Recession, the lowest the homeownership rate had ever been was 63%. Homeownership has literally been the American Dream. 

A community lacking homeownership is likely suffering from many other problems like high crime, high poverty, low opportunity, no growth, failing businesses, high taxes, poor schools, and a sluggish economy. 

Auburn’s homeownership rate is between 42-47% —which is 25-32% below the local rate in neighboring towns. This explains so many of the city’s problems. Far too many Auburnians aren’t stakeholders in the community. They have little if anything invested here, many are transient, and perhaps see themselves settling down elsewhere. The clear majority of people in Auburn don’t have any skin in the game.

Despite very affordable home prices, too many in Auburn can’t buy a home here. Many have given up and choose to be lifelong tenants instead of taking their share of the American Dream. They waste their hard earned money on rent. Why??? That is the question. The current city administration, including Jimmy Giannettino, has done very little to stimulate homeownship. The city’s homeowner assistance programs are anemic at best and ineffective at worst. Do homebuyers actually use them? Have they moved the needle by increasing Auburn’s sad homeownership rate? Well, the answer seems to be no. 

This November, Auburnians can either keep the failing status quo or choose a new direction. Under a Tim Lattimore administration, we will increase homeownership. We will once again be a city of stakeholders who see their success tied to the success of the community. 

Jack VonSpiegel 
Auburn, New York