Why Can’t Everyone Have a Home

People are looking beyond traditional boundaries to find housing that works for them.

Photo by Getty Images/SolStock.

For Julia Rosenblatt, the solution to affordable housing was to move in with friends and family — more than 10 people under one roof.

Rosenblatt, a co-founder of the HartBeat Ensemble theater group in Hartford, Connecticut, had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in local activist communities. The year was 2003, the United States had launched a war in Iraq, and the post-9/11 environment was making her think differently about what kind of life she was going to have for herself and her family. An initial group of about 20 people liked the idea of creating an intentional community: living together with a shared set of goals and values to have a life that would be more meaningful, less harmful to other communities and the environment — and more affordable.

In 2008, six people moved into one house. The big move came in 2014, when those six were joined by five more to buy a 5,800-square-foot 1921 house on tony Scarborough Street in the city’s West End. The nine-bedroom house had been sitting empty for four years.

Rosenblatt, her husband, Joshua Blanchfield, and their children, Tessa and Elijah Rosenfield (a merging of their parents’ last names), now live with Dave and Laura Rozza and their son, Milo, plus another married couple, Maureen Welch and Simon DeSantis, and Hannah Simms. The other original group member left the home when he got married.

Everyone contributed to the down payment. DeSantis and Laura Rozza had the best credit, so the mortgage for the $453,000 purchase price was taken out in their names, while a separate legal agreement stipulates that everyone is a co-owner of the house.

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