On Thursday, Nadia Chernyak wrote a sensitive story  for The Cornell (University) Daily Sun. I’m presuming she is a student herself or someone in touch with that generation. The piece goes beyond the chronic housing problems for the many students in Ithaca NY to look at affordability issues for ordinary folk in the region. It notes that the underlying problem will take years to work out. I believe it will be people like Ms Chernyak who will ultimately dig us out of the problems arising from the burst of the housing bubble. Below I’m reproducing my response to her article.
This is a repost of the moderated comment I submitted under Ms Chernyak’s piece. I have added a couple of notes and links.
affordable housing is also a national and global issue
Thank-you Ms Chernyak for a thoughtful article. I noticed many of the same effects many years ago when I attended Acadia University in rural Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Actually, affordable housing is in crisis all over America and beyond. Naples Florida is a paradise for wealthy retirees, but there have been many stories  about their recent adventures getting teachers, police, firefighters and other ordinary workers to live in the place. A recent story out of Poland  reveals that speculators have overbought in Warsaw so much that ordinary Poles can’t find [apartments] to just live in anymore.
Yesterday the Voice of America released a piece "Housing Market Slows in U.S."  (you can find it right under the link to your story if you go to http://housingdoom.com/ or click on my "homepage" ). U.S. home prices have become so high that almost nobody can afford to buy, and last month this "housing bubble" was seen to pop (the mainstream media carried this story on the evening of August 15th).
Much of the job of your fellow students at Cornell in this era will be to work out the resulting mess. Good luck and God Bless.
Sincerely, John McLeod, Halifax, Canada, and contributor to Debi Averett’s Gilbert AZ based Housing Doom blog
Notes and References: "Tompkins Lacks Affordable Housing", by Nadia Chernyak, The Cornell Daily Sun, September 21, 2006.
"Those that think that the rush to find affordable housing for the 2006-2007 school year is unique to Cornell students are largely mistaken. According to a study done by the Economic and Policy Resources of Burlington, Vt., Tompkins County as a whole is lacking in affordable housing and the demand for such housing is expected to continually increase.
Affordable housing has generally been defined as a home that requires no more than 30 percent of one’s household income to buy, according to Paul Mazzarella, executive director of Ithaca Neighborhood Services. Tompkins County seems to sell homes which require about 50 to 60 percent of a household’s income, Mazzarella said.
Ithaca, it seems, is especially at risk.
‘Our housing market is unusual because it’s more expensive than the surrounding [towns’ markets],’ Mazzarella said. The real issue stems from the fact that people’s incomes are not necessarily higher as a result."
: "’Bubble City’: Workers Flee Naples, Florida’s High Home Prices ", by Steve Mattews, Bloomberg, August 7, 2006. : "Poles watch housing prices soar as western Europeans snap up property in new EU nation", Associated Press, September 13, 2006. : "Housing Market Slows in U.S. (includes audio)", Voice of America, September 21, 2006.