Posts tagged homelessness
Posts tagged homelessness
America’s Worst Housing Project Is Being Gentrified
Have you ever simultaneously regretted that the poor had been pushed out of a neighborhood, but wished you could have gotten in when rents were still cheap? Have you ever admired the pluck and ingenuity of the first few nonpoor bastards to move into a poor area? I have.
The Los Angeles City Council just unanimously voted to tear down Jordan Downs, nearly the oldest housing project in America and probably the title holder for ugliest. Jordan Downs is comprised of 103 spookily identical buildings in the low-income, violence-ridden neighborhood of Watts. While notorious for its gangs, its racially tinged police brutality, and its intractable poverty, Watts is also noteworthy for its cultural vibrancy and the palpable neighborhood pride of its residents. I wrote that last sentence by the way, not the Watts Chamber of Commerce, but they can have it for free.
They’re not just tearing down Jordan Downs, they’re turning this Orwellian nightmare-scape into an “urban village,” including four story townhomes, condos, retail restaurants, and a farmer’s market. Residents have been hearing about this pie-in-the-sky renovation for years, or even decades, but about ten months ago, a developer was chosen, and the City Council’s decision on Wednesday, April 17 marked a big step forward. But optimism on the part of lifelong residents might not be the most practical emotion.
What is it like to be homeless?
The first line in this article is already depressing…
American Winter (Preview
Premiering on HBO on March 18, 2013, AMERICAN WINTER is a powerful and timely documentary that follows the stories of eight families struggling to survive in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and reveals the impact of rising economic inequality, cuts to social services, and the fracturing of the American Dream.
The scariest film of the year is a documentary.
2012 Jane Jacobs Medal Recipient Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions, Medal for New Ideas and Activism
Rosanne Haggerty has been a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and other research-based practices that end homelessness. In 1990, Ms Haggerty founded Common Ground – a nonprofit housing development and managing organization that provides innovative shelters for homeless adults. Common Ground’s network of well designed, affordable apartments, which link people to the services they need to maintain their housing, restore their health, and regain their economic independence, has enabled more than 4,000 individuals to overcome homelessness. Ms Haggerty’s work has served as a model for cities around the world.
Most recently, Ms Haggerty established Community Solutions, a national nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen communities to end homelessness. Community Solutions’ cornerstone efforts include the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which seeks to collectively house 100,000 homeless individuals and families by July of 2013. Community Solutions has also been central in the development of the Brownsville Partnership, which coordinates the efforts of all the service providers in that low-income Brooklyn neighborhood towards the end of homelessness-prevention. For her creative energy and ceaseless efforts to create shelters for the homeless and to provide the people it serves with dignity and the means to reintegrate into the community, Rosanne Haggerty is the 2012 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism.
The part that got me in the video? Where she talks about breaking up the public housing, not by demolishing them but by finding better ways of “subtly connecting them with the surrounding streets”. Public housing does not need to be eradicated for a neighborhood to grow and flourish, in fact it can be an integral part.
Framing Housing First in Calgary
HEY #SWXW! When you see these carts next few days please tip our homeless friends
In addition to the responsibility of providing adequate healthcare to prisoners,we have a responsibility to society. Most prisoners are released back into the community.To the extent that their blood-borne communicable diseases, depression and other mental disorders, and chronic, degenerative diseases are under poor control, their families and the community will bear the burden of the related health,social and economic costs of inadequate care.
At the Lighthouse, the life expectance of our tenants is much lower than the general population. Sometimes when I share this people state, “Well, they’ve lived a rough life.” Which I suppose is part of it. But there is also a large part of inadequate and sub-standard health care given to them, not being able to afford medicines, not being able to travel to the doctor, poor diet due to lack of resources, toxic home or work environments, and on and on.
When I started working here, the old wives’ tale was that out of our 68 supported living tenants and 40 emergency stay clients, there would be a death every 6 months. That has proved to be strangely, hauntingly accurate.
Young and old, sudden and quick, long and painful, some unpredictable, some drawn out. It makes it more important to check in with everyone to see how they’re doing; it’s important to note if someone has been unaccountably missing from our little community. Everyone looks out for everyone.
Now we’ve added 48 affordable living suites to our community. Some hold families, some hold roommates, some with young babies. I pray and hope that we can change the ‘6 month’ lore curse.
When people have to decide between paying the rent and paying for food, medicine, or other essentials, they experience more stress. Lack of good quality housing has been linked to poor health and educational outcomes. Ensuring everyone has good housing can reduce societal costs related to health care and the justice system. In the end, making sure we all have good housing benefits everyone.
In crazy dense Hong Kong, 100,000 of the city’s laborers live in sub-divided apartment units averaging 40 square feet.
See more. [Images: Society for Community Organization]
Listen up, Tumblr. There are some cold hard facts about being poor that you need to know before you try to talk to me or my family or any other poor person about anything involving money, food, jobs, housing or healthcare.
- Being poor is expensive as fuck. Living paycheck-to-paycheck means you can’t shell out lots of money at once for a reliable car, so you have to buy a used car that might break down more often. Or maybe you can’t pay monthly insurance costs so you end up with a $2000 emergency room bill. Renting costs more in the long run than owning. And so on.
- Asking for money doesn’t fucking hurt anybody. As long as you ask in a way that is not abusive or coercive, you should not feel ashamed if you sometimes have to ask for money. ESPECIALLY if you do it via crowdsourcing or some other method that doesn’t put pressure on any one person. Don’t you dare shame a poor person for asking for help taking care of themselves or their family.
- Sometimes poor people have nice things. Yeah, I fucking said it. I have a nice TV and some game consoles that I bought when money was less tight. In fact, anytime a poor person gets an unexpected sum of money, like a birthday gift or a tax return, it often goes to something like that. Know why? Because we know we might never get another chance to buy the thing. And being resourceful people, we also know that if we have a chance to buy a nice thing now it will cost less in the long run than buying a neverending series of things that break after a month. We also get really fucking tired of always looking like poor people to everyone else. It sucks always being the house nobody wants to visit because somebody else can afford an XBOX 360 and you can’t. Finally, you don’t fucking know where that nice thing a poor person has came from. Maybe it was a gift, or somebody gave them a Best Buy gift card and they bought a laptop. Maybe a rich person was giving it away on Craigslist. Maybe the person wasn’t always poor but shit got hard recently. Maybe they actually saved up pennies for a year to buy it. You don’t know, and it’s not actually your business anyway.
- Healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food. I’m not going to even argue this point, I’m just going to fucking shout it. HEALTHY FOOD IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN UNHEALTHY FOOD.
- It’s none of your business why someone is poor. Maybe they have a disability, maybe unemployment is high in their field, maybe they are part of a group that has been socioeconomically oppressed for generations and you don’t just fucking pull your bootstraps up out of that. I’ve never met anybody who was poor just for the hell of it. But you know what? Some people are poor because they made irresponsible decisions or they’re addicted to drugs or gambling. Those people are still people and they still deserve food and shelter.
- You can’t always get what you need at a thrift store or garage sale, and if you can, it still costs money. Some people have never actually set foot in a thrift store, so let me tell you what they’re like. There are rows and rows of clothes that are ugly or have holes in them or don’t fit you. And by ugly, I mean ugly-sweater-party ugly, like if I wore that to work I’d get fired ugly. If you’re REALLY lucky you might find ONE OR TWO things that fit and won’t fall apart after one washing. If you’re fat, trans or having other specific clothing needs it’s even worse. These are clothes that people rejected, and most of the time it was for a reason. Then there’s a lot of sketchy appliances from 1973 that somebody cleaned out of their mom’s garage after she died, toys for children 3 and under but fuck you if you have a ten-year-old, etc. They can be surprisingly good places to find books and Disney VHS tapes, but that’s about it.
- For similar reasons, things like Freecycle are spotty as hell. I live in a major metropolitan area. Currently, the things that are available on my local Freecycle list include an automatic pet water dish, various non-essential baby supplies, a “microwave splatter cover”, and a couple of office chairs. This is pretty representative of what is generally offered. It’s not a great place to get things you specifically need.
- There is no such thing as the welfare queen. This could be an entire post by itself, but let me give you a quick run-down of what ‘welfare’ usually consists of. This varies by state, but the aid available in Massachusetts includes food stamps ($200 a month max, doesn’t buy things like toilet paper, diapers or pet food), Emergency Aid for Elders, Disabled and Children ($300/month max if you qualify, you obviously have to be elderly, disabled or have children, and have to have almost nothing in your bank account), MassHealth insurance (actually pretty good but the application process can be long, and the state penalizes you by withholding some of your tax return if you go too long without insurance), and Section 8 housing vouchers, for which there is a waiting list of a year or more. If you manage to qualify for EVERYTHING, and you don’t have any kids, you might manage to scrape together enough to live off of. But barely. And MA is one of the better states for stuff like this.
There is probably a lot more shit I could tell you about what it’s like to be poor, but I’m tired and achy and so done with this shit, so I’m gonna stop here.
i agree with this completely and i’d like to add:
- just because someone has a job doesn’t mean they can afford the costs of living. i work full time at walmart, which is, if you didn’t know, the #1 employer in the united states. full time in my area means i get roughly 33 hours a week, and i make 50 cents above minimum wage. everyone i work with over the age of 30 has more than two jobs. one woman is in her 60s and has five jobs, two of which are technically considered full time, and she STILL lives in an apartment with her husband(who also works). if something happened and i had to fend for myself tomorrow, i would be looking for homeless shelters.
- unemployment doesn’t equal laziness. this is something that i can’t stress enough. some people are injured or have disabilities, some have multiple children that are too young for school, and some just can’t find a job (which is perfectly reasonable as unemployment is the highest its ever been). my grandmother lived off her health insurance, due to her frequent cancer relapses, and if she got a job she wouldn’t receive benefits from her insurance provider. my mom is a highly qualified accountant and it took her two years to find a job after getting laid off. if you have a job, you are very lucky, and don’t forget that.