Despite some promising economic signs, New Bedford still faces many challenges. One of the most significant is housing.

There are no easy answers to the housing crisis. The cost of buying a home is unaffordable for many New Bedford residents. Rents have also soared in recent years; three bedroom apartments that only a few years ago rented for around $1,000 a month are now $1,500-$2,000 a month or more.

A new community organization called H.O.M.E. (Housing Options for Momentum and Equity) is enlisting help from area residents to come up with solutions.

Co-organizers Carl Alves and Shane Burgo joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the groups plans and future goals.

"We don't necessarily have all the answers; however, we want to get people with answers, or part of the answers, in a room together, talking with one another," Alves said.

The group held a meeting in June, and will meet again on Wednesday, July 13 at 5 p.m. at Keith Middle School.

Shane Burgo is a first-year city councilor who made the housing issue a cornerstone of his campaign last year. He believes a stable housing situation would solve a lot of the city's challenges.

"When we talk about our education system or jobs or anything else, if we don't have that foundation, which is housing, how can you have all those other things?" he said.

One goal, Alves said, is to build better relationships with the business community and developers.

"This is an opportunity to start with a clean slate, people come with goodwill, share their own expertise, and hopefully new partnerships will be developed to create safe, affordable, climate-friendly housing," he said.

Marcus Ferro/Townsquare Media
Marcus Ferro/Townsquare Media
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Both Burgo and Alves applauded the recent investment by the city of $11 million in federal ARPA funding to develop 150 new units in New Bedford, but they said many more units are needed.

H.O.M.E. is planning a large community meeting for sometime in September to outline further plans.

The complete Townsquare Sunday interview with Alves and Burgo can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a public affairs program heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 a.m. on 1420 AM and 99.5 FM. The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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