The San Francisco Chronicle reports that residents in an area of Marin County are trying to raise $100,000 for legal fees to prevent Habitat for Humanity from building affordable housing there. The average price of a home in Marin, according to the article, is $800,000, and in the neighborhood in question, most homes are valued at between $1 million and $2 million . The article quotes one opponent as saying:
"The homes are of a certain type and would not fit in. The placement of these homes would really stand out."I suppose it's true that poor people don't exactly "fit in" in such wealthy enclaves, unless, of course, the poor people in question are nannies or pool boys.
According to the article,
it has been exceedingly difficult to find any place to squeeze in low-cost housing outside of the predominantly African American enclave of Marin City and the largely Latino neighborhood of San Rafael known as the Canal area.As for the $100,000 in legal fees that Habitat opponents are trying to raise, Kilbridge asks, "Do you know how many nails that could buy? To us that's a lot of money that could be of such incredible use to the community."
The reception in Marin has been so hostile that a county chapter of Habitat for Humanity disbanded in the late 1990s because the volunteers could not get any low-income housing projects off the ground, [executive director of the San Francisco Habitat chapter Phillip] Kilbridge said.
I guess it depends on your personal values. $100,000 could not only buy a lot of nails, it could also feed a lot of hungry mouths. But, perhaps to some, what could be more useful than keeping poorer people out of your neighborhood?