Re: Thank You, Melanie Griffin!
From: Diana E Carroll (dianaecarrollgmail.com)
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 06:58:25 -0800 (PST)


On 1/25/2010 9:21 AM, EL Cobb (via Fred H Olson) wrote:
  One of the good things about the economic downturn is that
    it has forced people to consider smaller housing, as well as put
    low-cost housing on the table.  Cohousers are going to end up needing
    to open the metaphorical gates to people of lower incomes if they are
    going to fill up all their units.  This means confronting one's own
    elitism, prejudices, stereotypes; indeed, confronting the myths one
    still holds about the American dream, the land of equal (and endless)
    opportunity.

because at Mosaic we decided to start offering affordable housing to low income buyers before the downturn, we had the opportunity to confront those prejudices and stereotypes you mention -- and the fears surrounding them -- earlier.

One thing we did was have several group discussions in which we honestly named our fears about what would happen when those 25% of our community in the affordable homes arrived. Who would they be? How would we feel about them? How would they feel about us? Would the subsidy result in resentment? Would our lack of control about who bought (it was to be done by lottery) mean that we'd be filled with people who simply wanted cheap housing and had no interest in our community? And if so, how would that affect us?

Some interesting things resulted from these discussions. One, stereotypes rarely survive exposure to the light of day, especially in public. :-) Another is that our fear of being judged BY them was as strong or stronger than our (pre)judgment of them. Many of us feared that they would be "mainstream" and reject our liberal/environmental/moonbat culture.

Since then, of course, we've gotten to meet dozens (!!) of hopeful low-income residents, and we discovered that they were just as mixed a lot as the rest of us -- some functional, some so dysfunctional you sorta wondered how they had managed to survive into adulthood; some full of community ideals, some cynical; some open and friendly and honest, some...um...less so. The ones who actually went to far as to join and buy their houses and move in end up being remarkable good fits for the community. Turns out they "self-select" in or out of cohousing just as effectively (or more so) than if we had exerted some control over who got to join or not.

- Diana



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Now is the time for community........Mosaic Commons cohousing
Homes still available...........http://www.mosaic-commons.org

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