Re: affordable cohousing, not "gated"/ Habitat
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 22:39:36 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 22, 2010, at 2:34 PM, Diana E Carroll wrote:

Our subsidized "affordable" homes are priced to be accessible to people
with incomes between $40K and $80K a year depending on number of
children and size of the home.  Our "market rate" homes when we first
went on the market reflected the economic situation in our state -- they
were affordable mostly for households making $100K and upwards.

The reason I keep coming back to this issue is that the conversation keeps blurring the distinctions between affordable and low cost.

For Berlin MA, where Mosaic Commons is, the median income is $103,800. Affordable is defined as 80% of the median income. The only thing I was able to find (or understand) about 40b, your subsidy program, is that it allows developers to bypass local density zoning laws.

It's hard to find figures but here are some. I hope I got them right. I'm not an expert on dealing With HUD figures.

HUD sets income limits that determine how much rent a household has to pay in subsidized housing. I think these are good figures to use to determine how much these households could pay to live in cohousing. In Berlin these rates are:

Low Income, $46,300 for one person: Pays 80% of the fair market rent to live in subsidized housing.

Very low income, $35,850 : 50%

Extremely low income, $21,500: 30%

Fair Market Rent in Berlin is $714 for an efficiency and $1050 for a two-bedroom.

So one person with a low income of $46,300 would be expected to be able to pay a monthly rent of $571 for an efficiency and $840 for a two bedroom.

With a very low income of $35,850, $357 and $525.

Extremely low income of $21,500, $214 and $315.

Was your cohousing community able to build units that would allow a low income person to pay $571 a month in mortgage payments _and_ condo fees for an efficiency? Or for a two-bedroom, $840. Did you build any efficiencies?

IF they could get a down payment together, one can assume they would need a full mortgage, that they would not have $100,000 lying around to pay down a mortgage to a rate that they could afford.

If Mosaic Commons was able to pull this off, others would like to hear about it.

So here we are, living in community with households making from $40K a
year on up a guess, $250K a year (not that I actually quiz
anyone on their income :-).

Are there the same number of people in each of those households?

To I sometimes resent them their free time?
Sure.  Do they sometimes resent taking on a big portion of the
community's labor?  Probably.

How long have you been moved in? One of our problems was that our real condo fee was three times that of the fee projected. This affected low income people significantly.


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