We’d like you to meet Ann-Marie Gavette and her 11-year old son Amare, who live at the C Street Co-op, SquareOne’s newest affordable housing co-op. Ann-Marie and Amare live in one of the 1-bedroom apartments and are one of the initial six households in C Street.
The C Street Co-op provides permanently affordable housing through a unique ownership structure that combines a limited equity co-op with a community land trust. Through a lease agreement with SquareOne, C Street residents own and manage the dwellings and improvements on the property, and SquareOne Villages acts as a community land trust to hold the land in perpetuity for affordable housing.
Ann-Marie received a housing grant from the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, to assist her in paying the membership share (downpayment) to join the co-op. The grant was provided through a partnership between the NAACP and SquareOne Villages, in which NAACP provides financial assistance for people of color to join one of our co-ops.
Ann-Marie and her family have life challenges they are working through, and housing has been one of their challenges. Amare and his 14-year old brother Xander have both been diagnosed with autism. Xander has an additional neuropsychiatric disorder related to autism, called PANDAs, which has caused him to exhibit aggression and hyperactivity over the years. In a low-income apartment complex the family lived in previously, they were evicted because of behavior issues related to Xander’s behavior.
Ann-Marie says that “autism is very hard on families. You have to be creative and flexible and willing to change. We’ve had to do a lot that we didn’t plan to do.” One of the hard things Ann-Marie is doing is living apart from her husband Xavier and son Xander. Living separately for now, Ann-Marie and Xavier can support their sons more intently, without one son’s behavior triggering the other. Ann-Marie says that living at C Street has had a calming, beneficial effect on all family members. “The co-op makes our situation as a family more stable, functional, and hopeful! We feel very blessed,” she says.
Ann-Marie likes being involved with the other co-op members, who have been very supportive of Amare. Co-op members meet regularly to discuss shared maintenance tasks and any property improvements they want to undertake with the portion of their rent that’s funneled into a maintenance account. The co-op is planning to add another parking space, and Ann-Marie has ideas for creating an outdoor, covered space for socializing and meeting when the weather improves.
“We’re learning to understand each other, collaborate with each other, and to be flexible when not getting your way,” she says. “We empower people when we live in community. Collaboration is necessary in our society, and it’s overdue. We need more community-based projects.”
Written by Susan Schroeder, SquareOne Grant Writer