Why I Started Dwelling...
I started Dwelling because I want to tell the human story behind that dreaded term "affordable housing" (gasp!).
There are a lot of misconceptions and even fears about the term affordable housing. People think drug dealers are going to move in next door, or that families will swamp the school system with the kids.
It's like they spray verbal graffiti all over the concept, so when you say the words these weird images pop into your brain almost without thinking, like the doctored photo at left, which is affordable housing opponents' fantasy duplex where drug dealers AND big families with lots of kids live side-by-side... .
I mean, really...this just isn't fair or accurate!
So in this blog we'll meet some actual people who live in actual housing they can actually afford as they work in our schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and lots of other places you go to every day. People who live in and need affordable housing look a lot like us, our kids, our parents, our Aunt Jane- wait a minute, they just might BE us!
Housing turns out to be surprisingly complicated. In just one property-created-to-be-"affordable" all kinds of things intersect. To name just a few, there are zoning laws, ownership traditions, design and location considerations, financing, tax law, income restrictions, accessibility...I don't want to nerd out too much on these things but it's interesting to look at them and, uh, dwell on the way they affect the cost of housing and people's ability to live.
Because, let's face it, having a place to call home is central to our lives. Our dwellings give us a place to store our stuff, get in out of the heat and cold, prepare food, and raise our kids. Increasingly, some of us run businesses from our homes. If you don't have a home, life is really tough. So in Dwelling we'll also look at what happens when people don't have the money to get their own place. And we'll talk about what a huge contribution affordable housing makes to our communities all over Maine by renovating vacant buildings and giving them new life, creating construction jobs and building safe and decent places for people to call home (see preceding paragraph.)
This blog is really for people who don't "do" housing for their jobs. However, there's plenty of research and experience, both here in Maine and nationally, which sheds light on what this blog will be about, so when I find stuff I think is useful I'll link to it in case you want to do some more reading.
That's about it. That's about Dwelling. Stay tuned.