Re: affordable housing
From: rphilipdowds (
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2019 06:51:08 -0800 (PST)
Fair enough:  In an ideal imaginary America, we would not have such extremes of 
inequality of wealth and income.  We would instead be using progressive 
taxation to sustain a robust public sector where a trip to the hospital or a 
college education does not push so many of us to the brink of insolvency (never 
mind trying to figure out how to pay for a house or a car).

But this is not the America we live in, and to deal with the challenges of 
today, right now, we usually end up juggling sub-optimal “solutions”.  In our 
less-than-ideal America, cohousing communities and developers do have a few 
tools for making cohousing more available to lower-income households.  These 
include incorporating a diversity of unit types, including rentals; 
collaboration with (very modest) federal and state subsidy programs; transfer 
payments internal to the project/community; and specialized design and 
construction alternatives like modular homes, tiny houses, congregate suites, 
and sweat equity applied to semi-finished units.
      I would never argue against any of these options for mitigating the 
consequences of extreme inequality.  We all do the best we can in the moment in 
which we live.  Just keep in mind that you’re treating the symptoms, not the 
causes, of the disease.

Not sure I want to be classified as a snob.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Cohousing
Cambridge, MA
On Dec 31, 2019, 9:32 AM -0500, Sara Wye via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>, wrote:
> as someone looking for housing under 100,000 i don't find this very helpful:
> > I will say again:  We do NOT have an ?affordable housing? problem.  What we 
> > have is a serious income inequality problem.  Trying to create affordable 
> > housing by cheapening the product ? and cheapening it within the paradigm 
> > of the stand-alone single family dwelling ? simply leads us further into 
> > the dead ends of the unsatisfactory (?mobile? homes) and the absurd (tiny 
> > houses).  If we combined more multi-family zoning with the progressive tax 
> > structure that served America so well in the ?50?s and ?60?s, the 
> > affordable housing problem would pretty much solve itself."
> the income inequality problem is a lot longer term issue than the immediate 
> need for community that is affordable.  i don't find tiny houses or mobile 
> homes absurd at all.  i would not consider these 'cheapening the product'.  i 
> have seen beautiful mobile homes and would consider living in one if they 
> would allow me to continue working in my home.  i am a 75 year old mental 
> health counselor. and as someone who has been looking for affordably 
> community for many years, these remarks feel like snobbery to me.   i saw not 
> too long ago a group of small if not tiny homes built by a group of friends, 
> a cluster of 8-10 homes, so they could form their own community.  i admit i 
> am not educated about the cost of buying land and building but if they can do 
> it, it can be done.
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