If your fire service was to say offer to their personnel the chance to have affordable residence living  would most take the chance if say the city or local government built a apartment or townhouse complex with a fire station built into or around it or sub-division of homes near a fire station? Now maybe this set up would also be extended to other government workers from police officers, school teachers, and so on.

While looking through the internet I seen in some countries where apartment building are built as fire stations where a firefighter could move in with their family. Paris, France has such a complex. The firefigters live on the multiable upper floors in apartments above the station.

In Alexandria, Va has station 209 built into a apartment building which has apartments for lease to city workers.

Now in my area to have known of volunteer depts to buy property or homes around their station and then lease the homes to their members.

There has been stories of a vol dept wanting to build a apartment building behind their station for their members.

My county has offered a chance of affordable homes to county employees but these are homes in areas where people would consider high crime or problem areas. A few did take the chance but if you look at the number of employees that live in the county compared to live outside in consider affordable low tax areas there are many that live outside county. This include those paid and those that volunteer their service.

In some way this has hampdered many volunteer depts because their members don't live in the first due area and have to travel miles and sometimes more than 30 mins to get to their stations. Some will put in time or sleep in when they can to keep their membership active when they could join depts where they live.

 

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If I were single perhaps, maybe even married without kids to save money to buy a house.  But absolutely not if I had kids.

It depends on the program etc. I have seen several, predominently moreso volunteer depts, house intern FFs within their stations or with in a close proximity. The deal is there for those FFs who are attending school for firefighting and this is a live in program. The student is able to have a place to live while going to school as well as opportunity to practice their skills. The dept gets people ona more regular basis to respond to calls.

 

My county has offered a chance of affordable homes to county employees but these are homes in areas where people would consider high crime or problem areas. A few did take the chance but if you look at the number of employees that live in the county compared to live outside in consider affordable low tax areas there are many that live outside county

 

You essentially answer your own issue with such a program. To get a chance at more affordable homes, etc the area tends to be in questionable areas. For the most part, not something that one with a family, or even those who may worry about property etc would tend to jump on. Such a program tends to help the city/community because you tend to get folks with a steady income etc and look to help clean up such neighborhoods, but again doesn't happen overnight....so it takes someone strong willed to take advantage in the long term aspect.

 

 

In some way this has hampdered many volunteer depts because their members don't live in the first due area and have to travel miles and sometimes more than 30 mins to get to their stations. Some will put in time or sleep in when they can to keep their membership active when they could join depts where they live

 

What has hampered? The aspect of doing such programs or the lack of such programs?

 

I look at things in a different perspective when it comes to such a thing and that perspective is skewed towards leaning to career personnel as opposed to putting up housing. As it is, when we see a lack of volunteers, especially in such areas, the reasons tend to stem from affordibility of housing (tending to be more affluent communities who don't wish to fund FT personnel) or there tends to be more demanding jobs reducing the chance to volunteer etc, of which agains focus on looking towards career personnel.

 

So if the community was looking to do such housing just to get more volunteers, then why not look to hire career personnel? If the community is looking to house career personnel, then I would ask why? Is it they don't want to pay them enough to meet the cost of living for the area? Do they wish to keep a close tab on employees, even if off duty? (I could imagine the intrusion of an employee who takes a sick day for family etc and the dept sticking their nose in etc) I just don't see the privacy aspect as much.

 

Coming from my military experience, the military does have base housing for those members who qualify. There tends to be homes and apartments and they vary in conditions, location and so forth. Those who live on base housing do not get any type of housing stipend. There are many military members who live off base or in better neighborhoods and own their own home. They get a housing stipend to live off base and are not limited to the rules and stipulations of base housing. They also have full ownership of their homes whereas those on base housing do not. Essentially it comes down to pros and cons.

 

 

As Don states, such housing ideas may be fine for that single or married couple looking to start out, but when it comes to freedoms and so forth, there are too many questions at hand. If looking to do this to get more volunteers, fine for those starting out, but eventually I can see the majority of folks looking to move onto their own living standards. For those who may be career, I see more relinquishment of freedoms and would rather see a living wage comparable to the cost of living for the area as opposed to dept based housing.

What I ment by hampering. We have members that started in our dept or others in the county and lived in the first due areas. There were changes in our county that cause some to take flight and move to other counties where taxes were lower or schools were better or race was not a problem or they had other reasons behind their leaving.

Most then were driving more miles to work which ment many are coming into the county to go to work or passing through to get to work. I know many take over a hour or more just to get to work.

Living in the county just became a issue if you are a head of a agency, committee, or organization.

If you control operations and spending, your should live in the county. So many of these members of the fire service are losing their positions and being replaced with members or people from other groups living in the county.

I think the count or city should wave the water bill and trash or a % of the property tax to help the VFD if you are a Paid dept. you dont get the incentive

I have believed that anyone working for a city, town, county or even a state should get tax breaks for where they live. Elected officials are only going to be in there for so long and don't need it. Consider that some when elected get a assigned residence until they leave office.

The aspect of people moving out of an area for any variety of reasons is common. Having housing incentives may be OK for a time and perhaps more of an incentive for those starting out etc, but may be impractical later on and you still see people moving for various reasons. I don't really see how providing housing is going to make things more of an incentive when there may be other things to be looked at.

 

You mentioned how Paris does some things, but I do believe Paris firefighters are part of the military, or under their control etc. Basically, not established how most depts we see are set up. So if those firefighters are living in apartments etc, it may be just like military base housing.

 

So again one's reasons for moving further away is not isolated to your area, it is happening all over and is part of the reason there has been a decline in volunteers....as discussed in a previous thread. Offering housing incentives in more questionable areas has been done before, but may not be worth the incentive for some. Creating housing to have or maintain volunteers doesn't seem like the answer, especially if the reasons the number of volunteers declining can be found elsewhere....such as urban sprawl, higher cost of living, etc.

 

If making residency a requirement, then that does lean more towards those who are paid and can be a condition of employment. It is not uncommon to see a paid chief of a volunteer dept having residency requirements, nor is it uncommon to see residency requirements for career personnel. There can be residency aspects for volunteers as well, but been a factor which has led to declines in membership.

 

So if having housing is to be an incentive, it may work in a short term type of aspect, but may limit to those with specific reasons to live in such housing. After awhile it is not uncommon for people to choose to live beyond such housing. Take a military base again, you may have on base and off base housing. Those who are married and lower in rank may find such housing as adequate in the beginning, but as time goes on, may look to purchase their own home and have their own property.

 

Realistically, I don't see such housing for responders as a long term solution to the problem of losing members etc.

I think the count or city should wave the water bill and trash or a % of the property tax to help the VFD if you are a Paid dept. you dont get the incentive

 

Why should such incentives just be for volunteers? If residency is a condition of one's employment, why shouldn't they have such incentives as well?

If the breaks were to be offered give your rationale for not extending them to a paid department.  Because frankly all it sounds like is volly sour grapes...

 

I believe both sides should have tax breaks.

I know not everyone will see it this way, but that is a VERY dangerous door to open.

I think the best option is what my dept does. If we meet a certain criteria, we receive a monthly incentive check. Then the local government is not "responsible" for kicking a member that will not or can not meet their full duties to the curb. The media would have a heyday with that.

Our community has experiemented with providing housing (year-round for teachers and public works employees built with grants and seasonal for summe police officers and beach lifeguards) and has been turning out to either be more expensive than the other available local housing or people are ending up living next to thsoe they spend all day with, and it is not always a great situation. 

 

When our union proposed some sort of year-round housing for fire department members it was met with direct refusal saying "we pay you enough to be able to afford housing".  While we are lucky enough to have a decent salary it is not enough to be able to afford decent housing with the price point that our real estate market is in as I write this response (a single family home runs in the $500,000.00 to $800,000.00 range).  I have new members who are not able to find housing in the community right now and they have to fly or boat in for their shifts. 

 

Housing needs to be available within the community that a firefighter or police officer potects to build a sesne of community

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