The ProHousing Project
The Issues -- Zoning
Unfortunately, people who choose a simple life style feel caught in a trap. Existing
laws, codes, zoning and property tax structure make it almost impossible to live a
simple life style because they are adjusted for a level of income that exceeds that
of a large percentage of our population. People who earn low levels of income,
whether by choice or circumstance, are virtually ignored by the housing market. Many
of these people are ones who we call "the homeless." It is ironic that so many of
the so-called "homeless" have incomes, but low level to moderate incomes are simply
no longer enough to buy or rent a home. Sometimes several people pull their
resources together to buy or rent a home, other times people make do with temporary,
sub-standard quarters until that magical time comes when a real home can be
afforded. Sometimes that temporary shelter becomes permanent.
What is clearly needed is a serious look at our building codes, zoning codes, property
tax structure and, fundamentally, our existing attitudes. Unfortunately, the process
of change in these areas moves with slow, painful inertia. What we are dealing with
right now is a national emergency and by non-action we are guilty of prolonging and
exacerbating the situation. So in the spirit of taking the first step and stirring
up some dialogue, let's look at some serious, radical solutions.
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