Not in My Neighborhood

Jan 12, 2018

by David Levine, President/CEO

In a New York Times article this week, the author points out the growing demographic and socio-economic uniformity of neighborhoods. The “Not in My Backyard” (NIMBY) attitude is still alive and well and has dampened affordable housing development. 

But more than that, the author notes that homeowners have now taken to extending their control beyond their lots.  As the author states, “Homeowners … share a common conviction: that owning a parcel of land gives them a right to shape the world beyond its boundaries.”  This (overreaching) attitude is something more than NIMBYISM: it is a “Not in My Neighborhood” attitude.

Certain homeowners — not all by any stretch— will fight any proposal for affordable housing, including ones for senior affordable housing.  Essentially, they will fight a proposal for affordable housing anywhere near their properties. To do so, most often, they will look to change county ordinances, zoning, land use or permitting rules.  

These homeowners believe the myth that affordable rental units will drive their home values downward, create congestion on their streets, and degrade their neighborhoods. (The data suggest all these consequences of affordable housing developments generally do not happen). 

They do so all with the aim of blocking needed and sustainable affordable housing. Too often, they succeed and keep the needed housing from ever getting built.  They just amplify the affordable housing crisis.