On Feb 5, the management of the NYC's famed Chelsea Hotel evicted a 75-year old man from his apartment. The police were called and he was told to have his belongings out by four that afternoon. This was not a case of non-payment, as the tenant was paid up through the next week. The elderly gentleman's crime? Being in the way of the minority owners desire to turn the Chelsea, for over 100 years a permanent residency hotel offering affordable housing to people in the arts, into a boutique tourist hotel charging $500 per night.
As concerned neighbors scrambled to pack the man's things -- including hundreds of books -- police reacted with obvious disgust, asking incredulously, "You're evicting a 75-year-old man?!" In response, de-facto manager Arnold Tamasar cited, "Innkeepers prerogative!"
The crisis you are not hearing about is coming from those of us who can not afford our own home. We rent. Many of us struggle to pay rent on a monthly basis because of rising medical costs, low wages, high tuition rates and the ever growing cost of raising a family. These people have no money, and therefore no voice. Their crisis is our crisis.
It's generally accepted that 30 to 35% is about right for housing expenses. That would include rent, plus utilities, any maintenance and decorating.
Median Income For Four-Person Families
Fiscal Year 2/ 2008 3/ 2007 3/ 2006 3/
United States $67,019 $66,111 $65,093
30-35% of $67,019 before tax for a family of four is not much at all, especially if you have debt, medical expenses or student loans to pay.
Rental units are in high demand at this point," said Michael Rodriguez, broker/owner of Platinum Capital Mortgage & Estate. "The folks who were displaced outnumber the number of rental units available."
In 2007, roughly 24 percent of Salinas residents were renters, but the number skyrocketed to 46 percent in 2008, Rodriguez said.
While the market may be tough for those looking for housing, it's great for landlords.
- Higher demand for rental units
From the study:
After averaging just 0.7 percent annual growth from 2003 to 2006, the number of renter households jumped by 2.8 percent or nearly one million in 2007.
- Pressure builds on the supply side
From the study:
Last year, completions of multifamily units for rent fell to 169,000 units—just two-thirds of the 2002 figure and only one-third of the 1986 record high.
- Rent is getting higher, but renters are getting poorer
From the study:
The national median gross rent rose 2.7 percent in real terms from 2001 to 2006 while the median renter income fell by 8.4 percent.
Tent cities are cropping up at an alarming rate. Many shelters have run out of beds to accommodate the growing number of homeless.
Garren Bratchin from the Loaves and Fishes charity says the organisation has seen a 20 per cent jump in the number of homeless people using its services.
"It's been entire families, not just the guy that decides to leave his wife and get drunk - whole families; three or four, five people at a time," he said.
Why this is being reported by ABC.net in Australia and not the USA speaks volumes.
The fact of the matter is that this crisis is worse than many of us know, and we are being told less in order to keep the outrage down. How many homeowners just got called "losers"? How many renters are worse off than the homeowners?
By selling vacant homes for $1 after six months on the market, HUD makes it possible for communities to fix up the homes and put them to good use at a considerable savings. The newly occupied homes can then act as catalysts for neighborhood revitalization, attracting new residents and businesses to an area.
Local governments can partner with local nonprofit homeownership organizations or tap into existing local programs to resell the homes to low- and moderate-income residents of the community.
Why aren't more programs like this available to the public? Why aren't the people at HUD screaming for more funding from the rooftops? When people are drowning it is not socialism to throw them a life raft.
Not unless you are speculating in life raft futures.
and by user NY brit expat's series of diaries on Adam Smith, or the diary posted today titled
Time to pay the piper: Penalizing Tax Havens at the G20
Thank you, and good luck to you and yours,