Re: affordable cohousing, not "gated"/ Habitat
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 06:21:14 -0800 (PST)
I forgot to answer the fact that size of household and 40B status seem to have no correlation, nor does household size and size of home connect in any way.

Folk who qualify for the affordable homes may buy whatever size they can get a mortgage for, however the prices were set by the state assuming smaller households in smaller homes.

Also we fit in what the state calls "moderately affordable" which fit what sharon quotes as "low income". that is our prices were set for people who make 80% of the median income.

Here are the rules and prices:

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
Mosaic Commons in Berlin, MA
We want more neighbors, come join us!

On Jan 23, 2010, at 1:39 AM, Sharon Villines wrote:

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

Our subsidized "affordable" homes are priced to be accessible to
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 --
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

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

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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