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Lisa Strahs Lorenc — Long Island Works
May 19, 2006 @ 12:00 am EDT
This morning our speaker was Lisa Strahs Lorenc, representing Long Island Works. LI Works was initially set in motion through the offices of LIA. The organization promotes the interests of businesses and working people.They have several programs such as the intern program, but this morning we discussed the problem of housing our workforce.
Every major company on Long Island has difficulty securing good workers because the cost of housing is so high. Even though the wages, in many cases are higher than other states and localities, there is no way that a competitive business can afford to retain employees by matching wages with the cost of housing.
Ms. Lorenc went through the various strategies for providing reasonable housing. She cited a program at Grumman that helps support the down payment of an employee’s home.And there are several programs like the Grumman plan. There is also Habitat for Humanity, The Housing Partnership. and some private interest builders trying to make a dent in the problem. But the problem continues to grow. What is clear is that the problem will not be solved with one simple solutions, but rather a myriad of solutions. No silver bullets.
Lisa went through some of the “reasons” that more is not done. There is clearly an undertone that the people who would be populating these workforce housing arrangements would be flooding our schools with children, or they may disturb the racial make-up of the neighborhood, or that they would be people who would not strive to better themselves. All of these assumptions are myths. We will be providing for the people that are technicians, medical workers, and skilled people who, historically, have an excellent record of creating a better life for themselves.
Channel 20 will be airing a program that will address this issue and have Ms. Lorenc as a guest The program is Empowered Voices. It will be shown several times.
Great meeting, thanks to all who attended.