Author Event: Homesick by Brendan O’Brien
October 12 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm$5
Author Brendan O’Brien and Jackie Keogh of RootedHomes will discuss Homesick: Why Housing Is Unaffordable and How We Can Change It. This event is a discussion of the affordable housing challenges and solutions in Central Oregon as well as a fundraiser for RootedHomes; 20% of all book sales will be donated to the organization.
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 Longtime residents in Spokane and Boston have been replaced by new, high-salaried remote workers.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.
“Blending historical and contemporary insights into a compelling narrative, Homesick presents a clear-eyed, engaging account of what caused the housing crisis and what we can do about it. A timely and beautifully written book.” —Brian Petersen, coauthor of Climate Change Solutions: Overcoming the Capital-Climate Contradiction
“A deeply researched, insightful look at the housing crisis, and what it means when we view homes as investments. If you’ve ever wondered why trying to afford this basic human need is so difficult, Homesick will make you feel furious, guilty, and hopeful about the state of housing as a human right.” —Blythe Roberson, author of America, the Beautiful?
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
Executive Director of RootedHomes, Jackie Keogh brings over a decade of experience in affordable housing and community development. In her former roles, Keogh worked for the Portland Housing Bureau’s policy team and most recently as Proud Ground’s Deputy Director where she helped double their affordable housing pipeline. Keogh has managed millions in public and private funding for affordable rental and ownership projects throughout the country. In all her roles, Keogh has engaged with culturally and economically diverse communities to develop community-led strategic, communications, and fundraising plans that are centered in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
RootedHomes, formerly Kôr Community Land Trust, is a nonprofit that creates sustainable, affordable homeownership communities for Central Oregon’s workforce. Using the Community Land Trust model, RootedHomes ensures that the community has access to healthy, affordable homes for generations. RootedHomes develops to goal net-zero energy standards to ensure equitable access to energy-efficient homes and the health and savings that come with it. RootedHomes is committed to providing access to healthy homes to homebuyers who have been excluded from the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. To learn more about RootedHomes, visit https://rootedhomes.org/.