I've accepted the idea that the housing market is affected by cycles in the economy. Three semesters of economics does not make me a financial whiz kid, but supply and demand concepts are relatively simple to understand. I've observed for myself that there are buyers markets and sellers markets and sometimes events unique to us put us into the housing market at a disadvantageous time. I learned from economics not to be tempted to put blame for these cyclical corrections on the people who are losing their homes.

For example, in the mid '50s when we contracted to have our first home constructed down the hill ours was the only building permit pulled in town that year. When I was first on my own financially, I worked at a savings and loan in the late '60s in what was called the Real Estate Owned Department. My position provided secretarial and bookkeeping skills for three men who were hired to manage the huge inventory of tract homes that were foreclosed by the financial institution when the builders defaulted on their construction loans. At noon each Friday the manager of our department held public auctions trying to sell these homes. In those days one bought a home to live in not to speculate with so no one showed for bidding unless they were in the market for a place to live.

Later, at the tail end of my working career when the jobs in my department disappeared because of outsourcing during the late '90s, I considered that I might be one who would have to sell during a buyer's market and I chose instead to reinvent myself with additional job skills in order to keep payments flowing to provide the familiar roof overhead. At this time, because the economy was otherwise straining, the housing market was hyper-activated when lenders offered refinancing carrots that put money into the hands of the homeowners. They were supposed to spend us back to affluent times. It worked for awhile.

Builders learned from their mistakes in the '60s and now build in stages. They no longer make interest payments while waiting for potential buyers. They only construct the houses for the buyers who have signed on the dotted line. They taught us in economics that this is called risk shifting.

Homeowners now have the risk when the market goes belly up, tanks, tumbles, bursts its bubble, or is described by other clever slogans used to mask the fact that some real people lost their homes and it may take years to recover.

But we don't have to fall down and play dead yet. I believe there are buyers for our homes. They just aren't in town at the moment.

There are folks down the hill approaching retirement age that would move here if they through they would fit in. We can give them more for their housing dollar and Hesperia could be a nice place to retire to if we were welcoming to new-combers instead of seeing them only as adding to the traffic jams.

Retirees would bring with them broad-base skills that are sorely needed on the High Desert. They wouldn't be competing for jobs. They can apply their knowledge to nonprofit endeavors where they are sorely needed.

We need a community New Year's resolution.

We could resolve to identity things we need to improve such as: More bodies for the COPs program; volunteers to teach various classes at the recreation centers; people to organize special interest groups for improving our neighborhoods, and watchdog committees for local government. We could advertise in help wanted sections throughout southern California for people to come to the desert to fill these needs. We might provide a description of our town and what it has to offer and emphasize our wholesome, healthy lifestyle.

With our supply of suitable housing, our demand for organizational, philanthropic and humanitarian projects, we shift the risk of this town becoming a ghetto of empty run down houses into one with a hopeful future of well planned civic and community projects. We court failure only if we are unable to rise to the challenge of being able to conceptualize what we want our community to be.