November 20, 2020
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well.
We are still here, and still working on a strategy for affordable housing that will bring people peace of mind. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are progressing albeit after a rather long break.
In 2019, we met with the public, with other nonprofits, and government officials to find the best way to help build homes. We tried an approach as a development service, describing our combined experience of architectural design, permit expediting, construction management, and land trust development. And we tried to figure out a way to take advantage of Sonoma County’s cottage housing provision, enabling the construction of tiny homes on foundations. We quickly learned how tired the Bay Area is of the housing crisis. Despite instilling hope with new ideas, it seemed everyone was out of steam. So, we took a break to figure out a different strategy.
In the meantime, the sole participant of our 2018 beta software project received an invitation to move in to a San Francisco city-subsidized apartment, perhaps thanks to the pandemic encouraging people out of the city. Using the funds we raised through 2019, we helped her household pay the security deposit.
During our break, I did some community consultation, and proceeded with my graduate study in clinical mental health counseling, interning at a nonprofit providing counseling to public school kids. I saw first-hand how housing insecurity creates stress for parents and their children, and how it affects kids’ performance in school. This sparked a new flame for accomplishing the necessary tasks of our mission.
And now, here we are
We are still a very long way from real property development to create affordable housing. But we have a plan and gears are in motion for action. As of today, we are down to two volunteers and will be ramping up. We are still 100% volunteers. I very much appreciate all of the contributions our volunteers have made to this effort! (That means some of you!)
Some of my work involves putting our plan into written form. Real estate development alone is a massive undertaking, and we are adding in a component similar to what Habitat for Humanity does, involving future residents in their homes’ construction. Plus, my hope is to create an educational component with planning tools so that other nonprofits and social benefit corporations might gain confidence in tackling development. This way, we as a community can multiply the housing stock.
Despite the droves of people leaving San Francisco for more affordable parts of the country, there are still thousands of households whose work is physically here in the Bay Area, and they still need affordable homes. Plus, the pandemic has caused many to lose their homes.
Rents are not coming down fast enough.
In the coming year, at the very least, we aim to construct a dwelling unit. (If you have a piece of property we can build on or add to, email me!) The home may be an ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, or it may be a tiny house on a foundation. It’s a start. While we plan for that, we will continue to put out content that informs. Many people still do not know about the tiny house movement. It takes time and education to understand why it may be the only reasonable way in today’s economic climate to provide housing that is truly affordable.
In year 2, we will aim to build multiple houses on a single lot and demonstrate that we have the know-how and experience to take on bigger developments so that in year 3 we can approach investors to develop larger communities of truly affordable homes.
This year, we ask for little:
- Subscribe to or follow us on
- And then tell two friends about us!
And if you’re able, please donate.
Care is kind.SM