HOUSING EXPERIENCE: Fred and his wife moved to the unincorporated east side of Sonoma in 2006 and have lived in the same apartment ever since. Over the last fourteen years, their rent has increased from $700 to $940. While he loves living in Sonoma County (“the climate, the geography, the nature, the community!”), Fred feels that the county is very segregated and considers it to be an elite suburban area. He and his wife feel lucky that they have had an affordable apartment all these years, but realize that they will never be able to afford to buy a house. They also acknowledge that if they lost their current housing, they would not be able to stay in SoCo.
Fred is adamant that Sonoma County needs lower area median income (AMI) housing and that areas must be re-zoned so that they can accommodate affordable housing, apartment buildings, etc. He says that Sonoma County is zoned to protect the wealthy, and duplexes aren’t enough — there must be high density affordable housing in low density neighborhoods.
- From a follow-up email he sent (edited for length and clarity): “If I were to lose my current housing situation, I would not be able to afford to stay in Sonoma County. The biggest loss would be my loss of community, social network, and relationships, as well as the work network I have cultivated. When someone gets uprooted from all their networks, because there is nowhere to live at a reasonable cost, the loss of connection to community is big.”