Housing: A story about sharing
By Fiona Pigott. Also published as a Letter to the Editor in the Daily Camera on August 27, 2021.
"For me, and for many young people in Boulder, my housing story is a story about sharing.
I arrived in 2010 to go to school and never left. In 2017, I moved into a townhome with a housemate I met on Craigslist. In January of 2020, she (a therapist working in low-income clinics) and I (an engineer) pooled money to buy our house, where we now live with two additional housemates. The income from renting rooms helps pay the mortgage, and all four of us have a place that’s near busses, has bike storage, and is near work.
I often tell my story when discussing occupancy limits and I’ve been told that my situation— six bedrooms and three cars to four people and one poodle—isn’t a problem. I’ve been told that the rule is only to 'keep students under control'— callously admitting that the goal is to evict their least favorite neighbors. Control-hungry neighborhood groups have no issue with households of people they like or know personally bending the rules, but they agitate to narrow any expansion of housing to exclude students, impose income restrictions, and exempt certain neighborhoods.
My message is this: such exclusions stifle communities and reduce opportunities for people like me, my co-owner, and our housemates. Sharing (often with more than three people) has enabled us to stay in Boulder over the years that we’ve been here, to save money, and to build a community. Eventually, sharing led to an opportunity to buy a house in a friendly South Boulder neighborhood, where we water our neighbors’ tomatoes and help chase down their escaped dogs. I hope that Bedrooms Are For People makes that kind of community, friendship, and cooperation possible for more of us."