Please join us as visiting author Brendan O’Brien talks affordable housing and his new book “Homesick: Why Housing Is Unaffordable and How We Can Change It” with Kaveh Razani, Co-Director of St. Louis Art Place Initiative (API)
Deeply researched and deeply felt, Homesick: Why Housing Is Unaffordable and How We Can Change It argues that we can be so much better. And we can start where we live.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Nobody who sits in traffic on Sedona, Arizona’s main stretch or stands shoulder-to-shoulder in its many souvenir shops would call it a ghost town.
Neither would anyone renting a room for $2,000 a month or buying a house for a half-million dollars. And yet the people who built this small town and made it a community are being pushed further and further out. Their home is being sold out from under their feet. In studying the impact of short-term rentals, Brendan O’Brien saw something similar happening in places ranging from Bend, Oregon, to Bar Harbor, Maine. But it isn’t just short-term rentals, and it’s not just tourism towns. Neighborhoods in Austin and Atlanta have become rows of investment properties. Longtime residents in Spokane and Boston have been replaced by new, high-salaried remote workers. Across the country, a level of unaffordable housing that once seemed unique to global cities like New York and San Francisco has become the norm, with nearly a third of all US households considered housing cost burdened.
This situation has been abetted by the direct actions of developers, politicians, and existing homeowners who have sought to drive up the cost of housing. But it’s mostly happened due to a society-wide refusal to see housing as anything more than real estate, another product available to the highest bidder. This trend of putting local housing on a global market has worsened in recent years but is nothing new. Housing in the United States has always been marred by racial and income inequality that mocks the country’s highest ideals.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Brendan O’Brien spent three seasons working for federal public land management agencies in California, Montana, and New Mexico. He observed the influx of short-term rentals and non-primary homes alongside rising rents and prices. Studying this link became the basis of his master’s thesis from Northern Arizona University as well as the article “When Boom Towns Become Ghost Towns in the New West.” He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Kaveh Razani is the Co-Director of St. Louis Art Place Initiative (API), an organization that builds wealth and equity for low-to-moderate income artists through home ownership. Kaveh oversees real estate development for API, and has helped build many of API’s strategic partnerships, where his current work is also focused. In addition to his work with API, Kaveh is the co-founder and operator of the community arts venue Blank Space on Cherokee Street, and has played an active role in the management of the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District Board of Directors, where he currently serves as Vice-Chairperson. He has co-founded several businesses in South City, among which is a collectively-owned commercial real estate company focused on incubating neighborhood-based small businesses. Kaveh is a faculty co-lead of the Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute and is a graduate of its TIGER program.
Copies of the author’s book will be available for purchase and signing at the event courtesy of Subterranean Books.