Kay Wright, 61, doesn't usually tell people she lives in a below-market-rate (BMR) home.
She's overheard other residents of Abitare, a downtown condominium complex, talking about "those BMR owners."
Few BMR owners interviewed by the Weekly, even those who are extremely happy with the affordable-housing program, were willing to give their names. Even owners who addressed the City Council and submitted letters, which are public records, called the Weekly and asked not to be mentioned by name.
"I'm ashamed to be part of the BMR program. I'm embarrassed I even got involved in it," said one owner, "Kathy."
When she purchased in 1985, she was a "busy, single mom working full-time."
"I didn't know what one-third CPI meant," she said, referring to the appreciation formula that has brought owners about a 1 percent increase per year.
"We just thought we were lucky to get it," she said.
Joel Davidson isn't an ashamed BMR owner. He serves on the board of his homeowners' association, as do other affordable-housing program participants, said Marlene Prendergast, executive director of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.
And although some recent owners may be happy now, they will realize later the costs of the program, Kathy said.
"Twenty-two years down the road they will be unhappy," she forecast.
One family who bought a BMR in the recently constructed Arbor Real, which replaced Rickey's Hyatt along El Camino Real, said they only wanted to get their children into Palo Alto schools, not earn money.
Wright said she decided to speak about the issue because she wanted to warn future participants.
"I want people in the future to know not only the disrespect you get, but also, is this where you want to invest your money?" Wright said.