Mass Reboot: Home
For many, COVID transformed homes into offices
THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has often served as a magnifying glass, accentuating and amplifying existing trends in our society.
With housing, for example, COVID-19 showed us what we already suspected – that poor people and people of color are most vulnerable to displacement from their homes in tough economic times, that access to housing is one of the key contributing factors to the state’s wealth gap, and that the failure to increase the supply of housing keeps home prices rising to higher and higher levels.
“There’s not enough house to go around. It gets worse progressively as the years continue,” said Symone Crawford of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.
The latest edition of Mass Reboot, a Codcast series examining how COVID-19 affected Massachusetts and how the state is adjusting moving forward, explores many of these issues through interviews with Crawford; Denise Matthews-Turner, co-executive director of City Life Vida Urbana; and Jessie Partridge Guerrero of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Many young people moved back in with their parents – why pay Boston rents when all you’re doing is sitting in your pajamas at home staring at a computer screen? Others moved to California or Texas and worked remotely.
Surveys conducted by the MassINC Polling Group, which produces Mass Reboot, indicate 60 percent of the state’s workforce would like to continue to work from home post-pandemic, at least a couple of days a week. Employers are not averse to the idea, either.
So where does that leave us? As we emerge from our pandemic-induced quarantine, it’s unclear whether we will revert to our old commute-to-work ways or whether homes will continue to double as workplaces. And if your office is your home, how will you decide where you want to live? Will cities still draw us in, or will we disperse to where homes are cheaper and rents are less?There are a lot of questions and very few answers. Libby Gormley, the host of Mass Reboot, said COVID didn’t cause the state’s housing problem but it did expose how bad it is. As for the future of housing, she said she’s still looking for the reboot.
“There isn‘t one, at least not yet, but boy do we need one,” she said.