Enough -- Blog Archive -- Reflections from a Homownersexual
The true story of what happens when a half dozen queer white kids buy a house in a primarily black neighborhood and try to plan a post-gender utopia.
They spend a lot of time considering the financial and ethical impacts of all their actions in a way we just don't see these days. In the end they turn down an offer for $100K in favor of one for $65K just to prevent further white gentrification of the neighborhood. There's a lot to think about here.
. . . We had anti-capitalist intentions in buying this house, but we were hazy on the strategy. We made a commitment to each other that we wouldn’t sell the house for a profit, and definitely never to a developer. We didn’t really imagine selling the house, though, so we never put anything in writing, and that made things difficult when we faced the reality of actually selling the house in a capitalist system. We planned to live there for a long time, to take an old house and restore it with the labor of ourselves and our friends, with recycled and trashpicked materials. We wanted to create a home that felt safe and comfortable for our queer community to take refuge in. We didn’t want to pay rent to a shady landlord, we wanted our broken friends to have a place to heal without needing to work a job to pay rent. We dreamed about the projects we would start once the house was paid off, like solar panels and roof decks for gardens. I think we did succeed in creating the feeling of both a cozy home and a place of refuge for ourselves and many other people, and we did some exciting restoration and painted the house a ton of bright colors and paid our friends to work on the house when projects were beyond our own skills. All of the people who lived in the house also worked on house-fixing projects, and there was an explicit agreement that both working on the house and paying “rent” were investments in the house, that the worth of the house belonged to all who invested in it, and that if the house was never sold that investment was a more philosophical one, a gift of community-building for the future people who would live in the house. . . .