July 2019 Housing Hero – Matt Sircely

What drives your commitment to work for affordable housing?

I was a collegiate congressional intern when the seeds of the financial/mortgage crisis were sewn in 1996. When I graduated, prices had risen, so I lived in a barn. As a freelance writer, I covered local planning commission meetings for my hometown paper just as my mother had when I was young. One year later, in 1999, I moved here. The warmth of our community reminded me of my hometown before it became suburbanized. I believe we have a very limited time to act, and I also believe issues of equity and ecology must be resolved hand-in-hand.

What is your involvement in housing work in Jefferson County? 

For the past five years, I have served as a Jefferson County Planning Commissioner representing District #2. This spring, I authored and submitted a draft eco-housing proposal as a way to spark a more substantive discussion, and ultimately action. When I first joined the commission, many folks mentored me, principally Bill Miller, a former commissioner and renowned policy-wonk. I also received support from former commissioners who worked to write the first comprehensive plan thirty years ago. Our county has a strong history of regional leadership, and I believe we must move forward with courage and determination.

If you could ask one thing of your community, what would it be? 

As a musician, I work in the service industry and listen to the hobo out back, the barista down the street, the farmer at the market. I believe it’s critical to know county-wide history, and to know the struggles of those who live here now. The emergencies of equity and ecology have been getting worse for years with accelerating impacts. I encourage everyone to recognize the challenges, to stand with and speak for the voiceless — before it is too late. Both the climate crisis and housing crisis are happening faster than the speed of policy. Only public action can affect change.

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