- Jan 26, 2021
Access to affordable housing continues to be a major crisis in our country. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the rental affordability crisis, disproportionately affecting lower-income and households of color. A project that provides affordable housing and harnesses the potential of the construction process to maximize economic benefits to disadvantaged firms and workers expands the value to the community exponentially at such a critical time.
At Gilbane, we focus our efforts on being a community builder by seeking to leverage our construction projects to the benefit of the communities in which they are built. As a leading residential builder, we support affordable housing development in two important ways: delivering high quality and sustainable buildings within the confines of the established budget and engaging the local community in the project through a strong minority, women, and disadvantaged-business enterprise (MWDBE) and workforce participation program.
Developing Greater Community Benefit through an Economic Inclusion Plan
Affordable housing projects present an important opportunity to maximize community impact through both the finished product and the process by which it is built. One of the strongest ways to drive benefits for— and generate buy-in from the community — is to construct the project using an economically inclusive process that engages local stakeholders and puts residents and businesses to work.
Economic inclusion plans should be created early in the preconstruction process, well before bid packages are put together. An economic inclusion plan includes MWDBE goals to drive diverse business participation, which can be adopted even in the absence of any formal diversity requirements on a project. Additionally, a workforce participation plan can be leveraged to track and monitor diverse workforce participation, encourage local hiring, as well as identify and drive opportunities for underemployed and unemployed people in the community.
Active partnership in the economic inclusion plan with local stakeholders including local elected officials and community-based organizations can help create awareness and support, bolstering impact and success of the program.
Leveraging Affordable Housing for Maximum Community Benefit
Over Gilbane’s 150-year history, the company has been focused on building buildings that create opportunity and benefit to the communities in which our people live and work. Quality, stable affordable housing supports vibrant neighborhoods with a host of potential benefits from economic stabilization to quality of life and health improvements. In our role as a builder, we see affordable housing as an opportunity to leverage the construction project for greater community benefit.
With a strong economic inclusion plan and active participation from local stakeholders, construction of affordable housing can help create jobs and generate local economic activity. These benefits help reinforce the long-term impact and multiple benefits of affordable housing development.