Saturday, January 06, 2007

Condo Hell

Moratorium on Condos Until All Housed

While searching for articles on homelessness via Google News, I stumbled upon this beauty from the Washington Post:

"Million Dollar Condos to Be Built Above Church Serving Homeless."

I congratulate the fact that building luxury condos is an attempt to create a mixed neighborhood. Instead of being secluded in the suburbs, they are built amidst poverty with no intent to keep their residents' eyes hidden from the realities of an urban area. It sounds like a good attempt at creating a melting pot neighborhood.

But this isn't Sesame Street. I highly doubt that owners of $400k 1 bedroom condos have chosen their location so they can mingle with the homeless folks sleeping at their curb. In fact, I doubt any homeless people would be allowed within 100 ft of their million-dollar developments. The problem is this: there is a place for luxury condos and we need to realize that. But that place isn't everywhere. What developers have failed to realize is that WE DON'T NEED SO MANY LUXURY CONDOS, whether it be in DC or here in Cleveland. We're poor. We have loads of people without homes. What we need is safe, decent, affordable housing. We need more public and subsidized housing. We need more mixed-income housing units. We need more housing priced below $100k that is decent (no-frills). We need safe homes for families--who make up the fastest growing population of people that are homeless.

The Homeless Congress, a politically active group of homeless people representing different shelters, has it all figured out-- we could create jobs and housing by having people renovate old, abandoned buildings into affordable homes.

Condos will not make a neighborhood. Look at both Tremont and Ohio City. Sure they've been yuppie-fied, which some people see as a good thing. But it's a strange mix of the wealthy "urban hipsters" and the original poor residents who are continuously being pushed out. Enough pushing. We need to solve the problem.

In the Washington Post article, a managing broker for a real estate firm had this to say, "You don't need the soup kitchen to make it a tough sell. It's a tough sell because it's a condo, and if there's anything we need less of now, it's condos. It's like overkill."

How about building homes that our city's residents can actually have access to?

Sarah V.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.


Stefanie said...

we could create jobs and housing by having people renovate old, abandoned buildings into affordable homes

I like that solution. There would be the added benefit of, well, using abandoned buildings that are otherwise eyesores and wastes.

Kevin E. Cleary said...

Amen! I'm sorry, but no one wants to pay $1 million to live in downtown Cleveland, no matter how luxurious the condo.

Kevin E. Cleary said...
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