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Faces of Affordable Housing
Carol Mason | Serpentine Drive

Stefano Fiorli, Assistant Professor, and Pradeep Ravindranath Post-doctoral student, both at the Scripps Research
Institute and participants in affordable housing.
Photo Art Olson
Click on image to enlarge.

It’s trite but true that you learn to share in Kindergarten, but that was many years ago. Now, by sharing my house and my life in Del Mar with a series of interesting people, I’ve enjoyed a richness and diversity I could hardly imagine before.

The quality and fun in my life is magnified by the people who have lived with me over the past ten years. Mostly young (but not all) they were involved with their life’s progression and moved on in a few years. However, one person has been here now for over nine years.
He works for a pharmaceutical delivery service. Many of them are young scientists, post docs, grad students, local employees or service workers. They could never afford to rent at market prices. They appreciate being near work, the bus, the beach, and local eateries. The rent helps me, but it is their diversity that charms me.

I’ve had Monika from Germany, Adam from Idaho, Xihong from China, Juli from Wisconsin, and now Pradeep from India. We enjoy each other’s parties, holidays, posts, and postcards. These are productive and intriguing people.
I enjoy their company more and know them better than neighbors who are here only a few months of the year and who upon arrival disappear behind their locked gates. Many of the sharers I’ve had have been scientists or tech workers from Torrey Pines Mesa, but I’ve also had a teacher, an artist, a professor, and a waiter.

Others who have shared their Del Mar homes for social or economic reasons say the real benefit is the experience with people who are unlike themselves, but who share the appreciation, interests, and community values of Del Mar.
For Karolen Lindermann, it’s been a fabulous experience to share with six different Scripps researchers. They were from Italy, Portugal, Malaysia, Britain, India, Ireland and Czech Republic. She says, “Saumya from India, cooked with spices I didn’t know, burned Incense in his room, and told me about his family. I loved all of it. I’m happy to have such fascinating people find a place in our town.”

For years many Del Mar people have rented to racetrack personnel. It may have been shared housing, but for ticket takers and horse exercising folks, it was a boon to have close affordable housing. They could manage split shifts for early morning workouts and afternoon rounds. Many were here year after year.
These are serious hard working folks who add value and balance to our community. I believe our town is stronger and more interesting when we have citizens of varied ages, economic levels and races.


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