Yes, IN My Backyard

How Accessory Dwelling Units & Granny Flats can help solve the Housing Crisis

Coby Lefkowitz

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An ADU in Portland, Oregon. Source: dwell

Sugar-coating is fantastic. As with anything that has potentially significant impacts when overused, though, there’s a time and a place for it. Hot churro coming out of the deep fryer? You bet. Sugar coat it. The greatest problems we face as a nation today? Not so much.

We’re in the middle of an extreme housing crisis that has only gotten worse since the Pandemic began. Problems of affordability, equity and overcrowding (a direct effect of too-expensive housing) have been exacerbated via job loss, tax revenue shortfalls and re-allocation of capital. In a country where nearly 11 million households (1/4 of all renters) spent more than half of their pre-tax income on housing before the Pandemic, $2,600 in stimulus payments after a year of existential precarity is frankly a slap in the face. For the nearly half of all rental households who pay more than 30% of their income towards housing (which formally qualifies them as being rent burdened), we can no longer sugar-coat just how bad it’s gotten for so many. We can’t continue an inhumane neglect of the lived reality of our neighbors. Nor can we hope to improve the status quo by suggesting ideas that are either unattainable or implausible today. We need to get serious about how we solve these problems.

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Coby Lefkowitz

Urbanist, Developer, Writer, & Optimist working to create more beautiful, sustainable, healthy, equitable and people-oriented places.