PACG Book Club - Homesick: Why Housing is Unaffordable and How We Can Change It by Brendan O'Brien
Monday, November 27th at 5 pm - hybrid meeting
Edwards Congregational UCC
3420 Jersey Ridge Rd
Davenport, IA (map)
PACG Book Club
In November, we will read and discuss Homesick: Why Housing is Unaffordable and How We Can Change It by Brendan O'Brien. Brendan is the son of Kevin and Eileen O'Brien, long-time supporters of PACG. Kevin told me about his son's book at the PACG Picnic & Pie Auction this year. Brendan also gave a few presentations recently in the Quad Cities about his book and the issue of affordable housing. Ed Tibbets also interviewed the author and wrote an interesting article on Substack. We felt this would be a great read and a timely topic. We will also try to arrange a joint book club discussion in early 2024 with the Project Now book club. It would be great if we can arrange to have the author give another presentation to our joint book clubs!
Here is more information about the book from Goodreads:
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 Longtime residents in Spokane and Boston have been replaced by new, high-salaried remote workers.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.
Deeply researched and deeply felt, Homesick argues that we can be so much better. And we can start where we live.
Contact me if you need a Zoom link.