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Housing: The pro-choice paradox

Updated: Jul 15

"Guest Opinion" published in the Daily Camera on July 14, 2020.


In Boulder, there is broad consensus on a woman’s right to choose how to manage a pregnancy, and on LGBTQ+ people’s right to choose whom to marry. Boulder has been a solidly blue city for decades. But embedded within our community’s pro-choice perspective is a paradox: Only those with sufficient wealth get to make other everyday choices everyone needs to pursue stable, dignified lives.


What if we embraced a pro-choice attitude toward housing? We can quickly and easily give homeowners and landlords the opportunity to make more choices available to those who would live here by updating our city’s discriminatory occupancy limits. Occupancy limits, as Alan Durning of the Sightline Institute has detailed in several articles (https://www.sightline.org/series/legalizing-inexpensive-housing/page/3/), do not actually do what their defenders argue they do. They do not control crowding, as families of any size may inhabit a house, but rather serve only to keep low-income people out of our community and prevent the full, legal occupancy of thousands of rental properties.


Choosing roommates reduces housing costs for people across the lifespan – whether we’re just getting started on careers, dedicating our lives to service, recovering from major life changes, or aging in place. It’s time to make the choice to legally and safely welcome more neighbors in our city, and updating our occupancy limits to allow one person per bedroom, plus one, in any given dwelling is the easiest, quickest way to start doing so.


Let City Council members know that you want to see this proposed charter change on our ballot in November by emailing them at council@bouldercolorado.gov. And support the great work of Bedrooms Are For People, which has been working tirelessly to increase housing choices for our community: https://www.bedroomsareforpeople.com.


— Darcy Kitching, Boulder resident


"Guest Opinion" published in the Daily Camera on July 14, 2020.

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