Columnists, Denver, Featured, Housing, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: ‘Affordable’ housing scheme a con job on the poor

The left hates the poor, who are often minorities. I’ll go even further. The left is cruel to the poor.

Yet, somehow they get people to think they’re helping the poor.

Here’s a great case in point. The Denver Gazette reported the City and County of Denver is building a new condo complex for affordable ownership.

If you make less than $60,000, you MIGHT get to be one of only 130 folks to pay a mere $140,000 for a one-bedroom condo in a desirable, central downtown location. What an absolute steal! The estimated monthly payment would be only around $625, unheard of in Denver! After all the average price for a condo or townhome in Denver is now over $430,000.

To get one of these little gems would be winning the lottery.

Too bad it is a lie. A cruel, sick, and twisted lie to dupe the poor.

A similar “permanently affordable” scam is employed in my hometown of Boulder. It works like this: A developer, if he can even get permission to build housing units, must sell about 25% of them at a substantially reduced price to qualifying “poor” folks.

For those who don’t understand basic economics, that of course means the other 75% are sold well above cost.

The real cruelty happens when the “poor” homeowner tries to sell her property and realizes she only kinda, sorta owns her home.

To keep it “affordable” for the next person she can only sell it for what she paid for it, plus a small increase to cover inflation, improvements, and then maybe a slight profit.

Think of the inhumane dichotomy. The market price for these new condominiums is, let’s say, $200,000 each. And say the “poor” person can buy hers at an affordable $100,000. Well, her “regular” neighbor is going to have to pay more than $200,000 for his — a penalty for his white privilege.

Let’s say, a few years later, the market price for those condo units doubles in value. The regular guy now has $200,000 in equity he can use to start a business, retire, put kids through school or sell it and pocket the money.

The poor person who bought her house for only $100,000 has 50% more equity and can do even more with it than her neighbor, including selling it and pocketing $300,000. Except she can’t.

Her “ownership” is a pitiless lie. If she could sell it, the unit would no longer be “affordable” for the next “poor” lady.

Unless we’re talking about your winning smile, if you own something it means you can sell it. If you can’t sell it, quite simply, you don’t own it.

Using the same example, if she actually owned her new condo, that she got at half price, she’d be allowed to sell it the very next day. “Flipping” her home would give her $100k. People do that all the time, but if you’re poor you don’t own what the city sold you.

So, the word “ownership” is manipulative and hurtful. This same city of Denver is outlawing the triggering term “illegal alien” in its ordinances and contracting (see the gazette story) because it “dehumanizes our residents based solely on their immigration status,” says Atim Otii of Denver’s Office or Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Isn’t conning disadvantaged minorities that they’re “owners” even more hurtful?

A recent Jersey City, New Jersey story illustrated the ugliness. An 82-year-old woman bought her government-subsidized affordable home 30 years ago; likely it’s paid off now. As she is getting on in years, the place isn’t working for her, she can no longer walk up the stairs.

She wants to sell her home, take her massive equity and move to Florida to be with her sister. All very reasonable and financially sound.

Only now does she realize most all her equity must go to the city, because she didn’t really own it in the first place — a 30-year rip-off job. Just when she went to cash in her nest egg, she found her balance sheets hundreds of thousands of dollars off. Nest empty. The city will use her cash to con another poor sucker into believing they’re buying a home to build a retirement.

So, just who is mis-treating the poor?

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.

CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.

Comments are closed.