Stephanie McCrummen's Nov. 20 front-page article, "Taste for Space Is Spawning Mansions Fit for a Commoner," was disturbing. Local Habitat for Humanity affiliates are striving to maintain the affordability of the 1,000- to 1,300-square-foot homes they construct for low-income families in this region. Escalating real estate values threaten to put homeownership permanently out of reach for hardworking families with limited incomes.

Our mission is made extraordinarily difficult by the conspicuous consumption of land for the multi-thousand-square-foot mansions described in the article. Habitat struggles with local zoning laws that effectively exclude low-income housing because of density limits for development.

For the record, I own a comfortable home in Crofton, albeit not the size of those mentioned in the article. I have been blessed, and I volunteer with Habitat because of my conviction that every person deserves at least a simple, decent place to live in.

One of the women in the article spoke of growing up poor in West Virginia, with an outhouse and no running water. Those are the kinds of living conditions that Habitat for Humanity is working to eradicate.

I don't blame this woman for wanting to put that past far behind her. But I hope that she and others who have achieved such success will remember those who continue to struggle with substandard housing conditions and will reach back to help someone else still in need.



Arundel Habitat for Humanity



The article on mansions portrayed a gross distortion of "need" and the twisted idea of what it means to be an average person. I don't know many "normal" people who could afford a house costing $2 million to $4 million.

But my deeper unease came from the description of living inside these palaces. Providing all of life under one roof while living separately within all that square footage seems profoundly isolating.

With household members having "their own space to be their own individual," is there a small enough space left to be a family?


Vancouver, B.C.