Our mission is to Solve Scarcity. Increasing entrepreneurship and access to affordable housing are the keys to revitalizing communities that have struggled with prosperity since the end of the industrial revolution. Small business startups (entrepreneurship) and the ability of working families to buy a house have always been the cornerstones of middle-class wealth. We can create an environment where people and their marginalized communities can thrive. We do this through small business incubation that includes access to funding and innovative and sustainable affordable housing development.
To exist in a state of perpetual scarcity takes a tremendous toll on the mind, spirit, and body. It creates a cognitive “tax” that requires undue focus on the need at hand, be it money, food or time etc. The unrelenting scarcity of affordable housing in the SF Bay area is reaching crisis levels. We see evidence of this in longer commute times, shorter tempers, fewer smiles and most recently with the Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people who were taking part in an event held in a building haphazardly and dangerously jerry-rigged to provide homes to several artists struggling to cope with ever increasing rents. This is what scarcity does; it requires cohabitating with dangerous conditions both mental and physical.
The survivors of the Oakland fire and others who are living in a continuous state of financial peril, taxed with the fight to make ends meet despite working full time, need affordable, safe and sustainable places to call home. Over half a million people in the Bay Area struggle to make ends meet, despite being employed full time. This increasingly severe financial impotence in the Bay Area, the US and abroad has led to growing political rage and conditions that could ultimately lead to widespread unrest.
The problem with scarcity is that it is a dangerous and costly trap. This ‘scarcity trap’ leaves less mind share for the flexibility associated with such things as higher intelligence and executive function; things like creative problem solving and community engagement. It’s not that those who do without are less intelligent, its that they are short on bandwidth due to a preoccupation with their troubles. Some of this adversity in life is normal and even healthy. But to live in this state full time is not sustainable without enormous personal, community and ultimately, national cost.
Scientists have long known that the consequences of intolerable scarcity leads to all manner of ills that affect both the individual and society at large; lack of curiosity about wider issues, such as ‘community’, poor personal judgment and an inability to imagine long-term consequences, leading to irrational and self-defeating behaviors all impact individual lives and contribute to deteriorating communities.
The good news is that there is now a tremendous opportunity to pioneer a sustainable housing and co-work solution in the SF East Bay and across the nation.
With your financial support and gifts of real estate, you will be safeguarding the middle class and investing in your community by bringing relief from scarcity and freeing the hearts and minds of millions to engage and better the community in turn themselves. You will be encouraging sustainable and responsible development practices while you express your appreciation of hard work and the contribution of those engaged in the arts.
Please make your gift today. And help build the solution to the scarcity trap.
Building Homes and Building Identity
Throughout the Bay Area there are hundreds of buildings and vacant lots that could be transformed into affordable living and work spaces. Advances in technology make it possible to build faster and greener. Advances in the science behind the design and support available in co-work environments make it more feasible for would-be entrepreneurs to take charge of their work life.
Providing space for both of these things in a vibrant, living setting that nourishes both mind and body is at the heart of what we do. Reclaiming deteriorated spaces and making them financially accessible and physically nourishing will not only transform our communities but restore the middle class.
Investment in affordable spaces produces many benefits to the community. It brings new jobs, higher property values and increased property and sales tax revenue to cash trapped cities. Numerous studies show the positive contributions of affordable housing development. When working individuals and families have access to affordable housing their Local purchasing power increases the retail vitality of the neighborhood. Stronger neighborhoods lead to resources to build stronger infrastructure and better schools and health care services.
We start by building affordable living and co-work spaces near transportation centers. As the strength and vitality of the centers increases it will support expansion further out. Cities will have the revenue to expand transportation services such as bike and safe walking paths to the mass transit centers. As the vitality of the local economy improves, better jobs will be available closer to home. People will be able to spend more time with their families due to shorter commutes and because their basic living expenses are not taking a disproportionate share of earnings, there is more bandwidth for creating the kind of engagement with family and community that leads to creative problem solving, concern for long term solutions to the most pressing large scale problems that our nation faces with regard to energy, water for agriculture and high health care cost, to name a few.
The psychological effects of being able to provide a stable home environment frees individuals and families from the scarcity trap. That release of mind share that was formerly obsessed with survival at the expense of mental and often physical wellbeing, is available to engage and problem solve. Space for compassion and creativity arises from basic security. If you want people to be nicer, to reach their individual potential to know and improve themselves, help them have the residual bandwidth it takes to think about more than their lack of power to access basic necessities.
The loss of a manufacturing economy in the US is causing a serious identity crisis in many of our citizens. The new service economy has failed to deliver access to a secure livelihood for middle America and this is reflected in the inability of people who want to work to find good paying, stable jobs and affordable homes. The scarcity of these things has led to a loss of community and stability that is transforming our nation and causing a deep political divide.
Rootedness in a place is a basic condition for the development of authentic human existence.
It allows for the growth of identity. The growth of identity in turn, requires a certain freedom of interaction between present and future. Uncertainty and scarcity rob us of this experience because knowing that we have the power to remain in a place and change it allows us to act on our dreams and ambitions and build our dreams.
Next to food and shelter, meaningful work is the most important quality of a rewarding life. To do what you love does not feel like drudgery, even in challenging times. Work is fuel for the soul when it is done for the right reasons. At EBR, we build communities of entrepreneurs to foster big dreams in areas where there is often little hope.
Affordable Housing According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States. In many parts of the SF Bay area, the severely cost-burdened renters have been entirely pushed out.
Middle Class When we talk about the middle class we are referring to things like regular work schedules and predictable healthy wages, benefits like health care coverage, paid vacations or sick leave.