Accessory Dwelling Units – A partial solution


Blessings and tragedies are all together in this thing called life.

The purpose of this note is to encourage people to build more housing in the form of accessory dwelling units

Aside from my experience losing my home (but not my belongings) in the October 2017 Tubbs Fire, I have seriously been a housing advocate for several years.  As a Social worker since 1983 I have tried to help people; so as the “housing crisis” evolved I turned my attention there.  I have a particular interest in assuring that everyone has a residence and a pillow to call their own.  See my blog posts at Who Cares and So What:

I am most interested in developing individual units controlled by homeowners because they give everyone the most flexibility to be part of a larger solution. One of my most trusted and knowledgeable contacts is Rachel Ginis at Lilypad Homes.  They have a very thorough and informative web site.     Both homeowners and commercial home builders could also incorporate the units (and added value) accessory dwelling units generate.


I had a house that burned down in Santa Rosa but I did not live in it.  I had rented it to my brother-in-law.  His family lost everything, but now I have to rebuild the house like so many others.  When I drive through my Hidden Valley neighborhood, I am filled with feelings for each person in the whole community coping with each little tiny piece of land trying to rebuild their lives, their homes, and their perspective.

The political leaders are so busy dealing with what they know about that they do not even think about, or communicate about, some other things we should be looking at.

With all our complex issues I hope some of us will add accessory dwelling units because one of the solutions to our housing crisis is accessory dwelling units because they would maximize efficiency of the land space controlled by each individual homeowner.  Each new builder can create housing for their family members, or their friends, or other people who need housing.  The FEMA and SBA and insurance companies only pay for that which is replaced.  We need a bank or financial institution which will promote accessory dwelling unit loans in the range of $150,000 to $300,000.  In this manner we could rebuild on our pieces of property and create good housing with an affordable value.

The $150,000 per room rate of accessory dwelling units is significantly less than the $400,000 per unit it costs when affordable housing developers build apartment complexes.  This is not a criticism of affordable housing developers; it is just a statement of fact. They operate in a financing structure that causes their units to cost as much as they do.  But, others of us operate in a different financial structure and we should be able to take advantage of being able to create lower-cost housing.

There is so much going on, I hope many of us can find space for this as well.

Gerry La Londe-Berg, 707-569-4280

After I wrote this, a friend, Steve Birdlebough posted this from LA


A mortgage calculator indicated the total costs would have to be around $100,000 to get monthly cost down nearer to $700.

An update:

More places are seeing the wisdom of shared housing.

3 Replies to “Accessory Dwelling Units – A partial solution”

  1. Shirlee Zane

    Gerry, I am working on this with Habitat for Humanity. And I walked lthrough your burned neighborhood with some fire survivors today. Supervisor Shirlee Zane


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