Re: affordable housing
From: Jerry Koch-Gonzalez (
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2019 08:11:23 -0800 (PST)
Well said, Philip.

Jerry Koch-Gonzalez  413-687-5444
, Sociocracy For All <> and  New England NVC
Founding Resident, Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community

To talk to me about sociocracy or NVC, go here:

On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 9:51 AM R Philip Dowds alt addr via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> 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.
> Thanks,
> 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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