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Mon Apr 29, 2013, 07:43 AM

Why We Still Have a Massive Homelessness Problem (Hard Times USA)

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/why-we-still-have-massive-homelessness-problem-hard-times-usa



Most people would agree that the Federal government has abandoned any pretense of its responsibility to “ensure safe, decent and affordable” (Housing Act, 1937) housing for the poorest people in our country as it committed to do in 1937 when what is now HUD was formed. After years of funding cuts, neglect and demolitions, the 1998 Congress went so far as to say “the federal government can not be held accountable to ensure housing for even a majority of its citizens” (Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, 1998). While they may have ignored their legislative mandate from 1937, they have with great conviction, adhered to the 1998 (lack of) responsibility.

Year after year we hear of yet another series of funding cuts, of Section 8 units being converted to market rate, of additional Public Housing units being demolished with no intention of ever replacing them, and of yet even more tightening of eligibility criteria so as to exclude people from even being able to apply for housing assistance.

Couple this with the loss of factory jobs through corporate tax credits for relocation overseas, ever shrinking time limits on welfare assistance, foreclosures, the rising cost of healthcare and the increasing disparity between rich and poor, absolutely, no wonder that homelessness has stayed with us for the past 30 years. In fact, it would be a miracle if it hadn’t.

Since 1983, local governments have been expected to manage this crisis with nothing more from the Feds than a miniscule amount of funding for emergency shelters, social workers, and a very small number of transitional housing units. In true Washington DC fashion, local communities are being faced with more and more reporting requirements, more and more information systems programs to comply with, and of course the ever evolving plans they are required to write with the concurrent, and completely useless, oversight commissions they are required to create.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why We Still Have a Massive Homelessness Problem (Hard Times USA) (Original post)
xchrom Apr 2013 OP
Heidi Apr 2013 #1
xchrom Apr 2013 #2
Heidi Apr 2013 #3
chervilant Apr 2013 #4
xchrom Apr 2013 #5
marmar Apr 2013 #6
mbperrin Apr 2013 #7
TheKentuckian Apr 2013 #8
Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2013 #11
OneGrassRoot Apr 2013 #12
redqueen Apr 2013 #9
Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2013 #10
Egalitarian Thug Apr 2013 #13

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 07:48 AM

1. Kick!

And mornin', sunshine!

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Response to Heidi (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 07:51 AM

2. Kiss, Kiss, Darling -- and Sunshine coming your way

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Response to xchrom (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 08:03 AM

3. I long for the days when

I looked _that_ svelte in a hoop skirt! :swoon:

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 08:37 AM

4. Rolling my eyes over here...

(Not because I don't appreciate this and other links you've posted...)

The federal government has effectively transferred responsibility for nationwide, multifaceted, broad-based systemic poverty and homelessness directly onto the backs of local governments and local communities. And for the past 15 years, those local communities have been fighting back with a vengeance. Rather than fight the feds however, they are putting their energies into attacking poor and homeless people. Unfortunately like the kids who get bullied at school and then bully the kids smaller than them, the fighting that is happening isn’t coming close to addressing what has everyone so freaked out in the first place – poor and homeless people being forced to live on the streets.


When are peons like this author (and the billions of us who'll never know the luxuries of wealth) going to recognize that the corporate megs have promoted this meme: that we poor people are directly responsible for our plight? It serves its purpose well, by deflecting our attention from their carefully planned rape of the world AND by promoting in-fighting among the 'have-nots,' so that we waste our time, energy, and what little critical thinking skills we've managed to succor past their co-opted system of public education.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 08:47 AM

5. +1

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 09:01 AM

6. k/r

nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 10:02 AM

7. The root problem is the monetization of housing.

For centuries, even thousands of years, the purpose of a house was to provide shelter for a family group. You built it and lived in it, and passed it along to those that followed.

Then we invented home financing, where bankers make more money than builders from the same house.
Where people are told that their home is not a shelter, but a financial asset to borrow money against. The money and interest paid back suck money out of the rest of the economy.
Where people are told that they must obtain larger and more expensive housing by trading their old houses and taking out ever-larger loans. This means that bankers make multiples more than builders.

Then, when housing can't be paid for, the families are evicted, and the properties are bundled into other financial transactions, making more money for banks and financial gamblers and hedgers.

So you end up not with communities made up of family-owned, generationally-passed shelters, and people free to spend their money for real things, not interest and fees, but instead a landscape of shadow entities propelled by interest and fees, "protected" by hedges and US government guarantees to banks, while real people have no place to live, because they do not have the entry ticket.

One ticket used to be enough for generations, now each family needs many tickets during a single life to try to stay covered. Any accident, bump, or glitch, and families are out. Banks win either way, and so millions of perfectly good housing units stand empty while millions of perfectly good people are homeless.

Homes are not and never were intended to be investments nor financial tools of any kind. They keep you covered from the weather and safe from environmental intrusion. That's all.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 10:14 AM

8. The current system requires homelessness no matter how unnecessary or how much surplus housing there

is.

Homeless folks create artificial lack and some desperation in the system and allows for a higher floor in cost.

Got to keep those values up!

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 11:16 AM

11. Carlin said they want the homeless out there,...

....to scare the shit out of the middle class to keep them showing up for those jobs.

It also makes people accept lower pay and benefits.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 11:20 AM

12. Shit, that's probably very true. :( n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 10:23 AM

9. K&R

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 11:13 AM

10. The government could have bought houses in Detroit for $100 and fixed them up....

Face it. There is an attitude that people are basically LAZY and have to be FORCED to go out and work.

Why?

Because that's the way the rich are.

How lazy?

Some sit on the board of several firms but hire lawyers to represent them at board meetings. You go in expecting to meet Bill Gates and find a bunch of sharks in suits.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 12:43 PM

13. One of the original unfunded mandates that reagan loved to both create

 

and endlessly talk about. Lest we forget, he "balanced the budget" by dumping responsibility on the states, but keeping the money in DC.

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