Protecting the valley’s No. 1 employer

After 40-plus years in the real estate industry, it is easy to become complacent and figure I have “seen it all” and that I understand all facets and views about real estate.

As part of my job as Warren Area Board of Realtors president, I attend a lot of meetings. Recently in a meeting I was asked by someone, “What was the area’s biggest employer?” All primed to answer GM, the U.S. Air Force or a hospital, I sat there hesitant, knowing the answer wasn’t that easy. Then I answered the question: Housing.

In the last 10 years, countless grassroots groups have come forth throughout the Valley specifically emphasizing neighborhoods and their value. From Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership to the many Warren Neighborhood groups, all recognize the value of neighborhoods “from the inside.” As Realtors, we know that good neighborhoods mean that homes are salable — we are usually looking in from the outside.

Let’s get back to the “employer” thing. Look at the staggering number of jobs surrounding housing. Realtors yes, but also contractors, painters, also home centers, building suppliers, truckers, wiring and plumbing manufacturers, lumber mills, lawn and garden services and centers, even firefighters protecting them. It is an easy argument to suggest that the housing industry is the heart of the largest segment of America’s employment. More than autos, steel, health care, TV and movies, the creation and maintenance of quality housing is the core of our economy, and spreads across many jobs and economic segments. After being surrounded by real estate, building, developing and selling homes for the last 40 years, I have come to the stark realization that even with 1 million-plus Realtors working in the real estate industry, we are just a small part of it.

As we move through 2018, I ask you to think of our housing and neighborhoods in two lights.

First, Clean, safe, inviting neighborhoods are important to every family living or wanting to live here. We cannot attract new people without them.

Second, It is our largest employer, bar none. If you remember the “Black Monday” of the late 1970’s when the steel mills closed, and the meltdown of 2005-2010; we cannot let that happen in our neighborhoods and livelihoods again.

Our neighborhoods are both the catalyst for and beneficiary of employment in our Valley. While we may all not live in the same neighborhoods, it is imperative that we involve ourselves in the effort to preserve them. We need to work with the many groups who are with us in the neighborhoods every day to protect and grow them.

As with any process, there will always be some pain. We have all heard “no pain, no gain,” and it is true with working to maintain our neighborhoods. The maintaining of our neighborhoods results in improving on our “housing health.” Ultimately, good housing health protects our country’s No. 1 employer.

Mink-Crouse is the 2018 president of the Warren Area Board of Realtors.


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