A place to call home: Affordable housing essays, part three

COMING TOGETHER: The Dulce Lomita Mobile Home Cooperative in Emma offers an innovative approach to the Asheville area's affordable housing problem. Co-op members formed a company three years ago to jointly purchase the property, which has six mobile homes owned by individual families. Each family owns an equal share; if someone moves out and sells their share, the cooperative agreement calls for the price to stay affordable. All of the families in Dulce Lomita are first-time homeowners. Enjoying the co-op's playground area are essayist Andrea Golden's family members, including, from far left, partner Abel Gonzalez, daughter Yaretzi Cruz Golden, niece Emily Cruz Macey, Golden and son Hyadi Abel Gonzalez. Photo by Tim Robison

The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing Asheville today.

There are various factors involved, including a growing population, the high demand for both apartments and houses, the particular challenges of building in the mountains and the low wages paid by many local employers. (See “Little City Blues: Asheville’s Growing Housing Crisis,” Aug. 5, Xpress.)

“Affordable housing is not just a housing problem,” notes Mike Figura, who owns Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty and also has a background in urban planning and development. “It’s a housing supply problem; it’s a wage problem; it’s an employment problem.”

Aiming to generate constructive discussion, Xpress asked assorted government officials, nonprofit leaders, neighborhood advocates, volunteers, developers and those facing the challenges of affordable housing to tackle this question: “What would it take to solve the Asheville area’s affordable housing problem?”

We got back so many thought-provoking essays that we couldn’t fit them all in a single issue. In this third of three parts, eight writers offer their ideas.

Here are links to this week’s affordable housing essays (updated as they are published online):

“Support Successful Models Adequately,” by Andrea Golden, Dulce Lomita Mobile Home Cooperative

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One thought on “A place to call home: Affordable housing essays, part three

  1. Henry

    I hope everyone will read these enlightening affordable housing essays.

    I’m a big fan of many models, especially the Habitat for Humanity model. Habitat invests the homeowner, and rolls their funds back into the homeowner program to help other homeowners, while consuming very little taxpayer resources.

    We need to be weary of big, corporate models like the one presented by Mountain Housing Opportunities, that lives at the public trough. MHO uses taxpayer funds to cover the entire costs of their buildings, collects hundreds of thousands of dollars in “profit”, also covered by the taxpayer, pays scant property taxes, all while paying it’s president $100,000 a year.

    In return, MHO keeps the rent money collected by its LLC’s and isn’t even living wage certified. Programs run like this through large corporations aren’t sustainable. We need to invest in other more adaptable programs that address the housing crisis in a thoughtful, crafted, responsible way.

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