Final Summary

My research this summer has been fairly rewarding- through studying different housing communities, I learned the strengths, weaknesses and unique challenges of each. For example, Second Wind Cottages in Newfield, NY have the advantage of donated land and low construction costs, while Olympia, WA benefits from a progressive community and community outreach. Since my last post, I spent some more time looking into household income and how it compares to median house value (as of 2016) as well as demographics and poverty rates in the case study cities. Below is a graph of median household income versus median house value (city-data).

Income and House Value

In the graph, it is clear that Austin, Texas has the largest disparity in income versus house value, with median income just above $50,000 and median house value above $300,000. Below are poverty rates per city (city-data).

Poverty Data

Syracuse is the leader in poverty rates, with more than 35% of the population below the poverty line. By comparison, Newfield, NY has the lowest poverty rate and a relatively low disparity in income and house value. One may ask, why would the founders of Second Wind open their community in Newfield if median house value is low? That community in particular opened in Newfield because of donated land- the community was able to cut costs and chose to help homeless men in that city. Outside of that, the other cities have higher house values and poverty rates, thus justifying the need for tiny house communities in those areas.

By comparison, Williamsburg has a poverty rate of 24.1%, median household income of $51,579 and median house value of $339,565. This disparity in income and housing costs exceeds that of every other case study city. Affordable housing is especially important for the Williamsburg community, as more than 20% of the population suffers from poverty.

Ultimately, the success of these communities seems largely dependent on community support. It would be possible to start a project with little/no support and build support over time, much like the founders of the Quixote Village did. What once started as a camp of tents in different church parking lots turned into an established community for residents to reintegrate into the workforce. As mentioned in the Quixote case study, this type of organization can gain financial support through attending public meetings and allowing the public to put faces to names by having residents speak. With a progressive mindset, the homeless population of Williamsburg can find a home in a community like Quixote Village or another homeless community. Time will tell if Williamsburg would be open to adopting this kind of community, but with data on successful communities and support from the local population, this could very much be possible.

 

Sources

http://www.city-data.com