|Re: more questions about affordable cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kay Argyle (kay.argyleutah.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 18:35:00 -0700 (PDT)|
Since nobody else has responded to this.... Wasatch Commons in Salt Lake City has five income-qualified rent-to-own units. Having income disparity in a community complicates things. Having renters complicates things. The affordable units combine both sets of complications. The Crown units represent an official commitment to income diversity, which encourages us to deal with issues around it with sensitivity and grace (I won't claim we always succeed!), from which the renters in privately owned units and the owners on shoestring budgets also benefit. Rent for the Crown units (the acronym of the state program under which they were built) pays for the mortgage, the monthly condo assessment, a maintenance reserve, and a management fee (there is a horrific annual report to file, inspections by the housing agency, etc.). The maintenance reserve functions as an enforced savings plan - anything left over goes towards the down payments. The condo association has allowed the tenants themselves to decide on rent increases (given that any money above expenses eventually goes back to them anyway). Per the bylaws, renters can't vote for or serve on the management committee. Therefore, there are the five official members, voted on by owners, and two "representatives" selected by the Crown and other renters. Renters are (apparently) not permitted to block consensus on financial matters. At least a couple of renters (not just Crown) have expressed a feeling of constraint during discussions. Some owners and other renters get just as stressed at any prospect of monthly assessments going up as do the "official" low-income residents. Participation doesn't correlate with renter/owner status. A higher percentage of owners has turned over than of Crown renters. The differences in square footage, construction, and fittings put the Crown units on a continuum, not on the other side of a gulf. They were built with the lower-cost options, such as porcelain kitchen sinks and white laminate cabinets - as were some privately owned (p-o) units. On the other hand, they have nicer flooring than many of the p-o units, because a couple of years ago the maintenance reserve ponied up for tile, carpet, and wood laminate - whereas about half of owners still have bare (sealed) concrete. The townhouse 2-bms, all p-o, average two occupants. The Crown 2-bms each have a single inhabitant - a slightly smaller space, but all to themselves. Among p-o, the number of bedrooms follows income more than it does household size - five people in a 3-bm, a single in a 4-bm. The question of inequality has arisen over the ability of some members to get an amenity they want for the community by paying for it themselves. Here again, the ruffled feathers sometimes belong to an owner. It strikes me as a particularly silly, selective form of jealousy. I'd like to be able to be as generous as some residents - I'd also like to jet off to Europe like some residents. I get to share the treadmill, or orchard trees, or whatever; I don't get to share the trip to Milan. Why object to one and not the other? Kay
more questions about affordable cohousing Diane DePuydt, July 5 2007
- Re: more questions about affordable cohousing Kay Argyle, July 16 2007
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