"Homes for the Homeless"

"Homes for the Homeless"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stimulus Plan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J28tLOpzfpA (Housing is more affordable in those middle states)

Regarding the above link: Perhaps a Stimulus Plan that lowers the price of necessities such as housing, food and health insurance would leave room to buy cars, furniture, and clothing, etc. When the people are not buying "stuff" the community looses jobs. AND when the cost of all of this is too high, people use credit to buy rather than pay cash or save money to buy a car. Once they are in over their heads for necessities as well as their "stuff" they cannot buy anymore. There is a limit as to how high prices can go before the whole thing falls like a house of cards.


Regarding the above link: This has been happening in New York for the past 30 years. When I lived there I watched the homeless population skyrocket when the cost of housing rose to astronomical proportions. All of a sudden the homeless were very visible on the streets (1980's). Before this time it was a "big deal" to see a homeless person and somewhat shocking. Now it's commonplace.

I've worked with the homeless since 1992 in California. During this time I've watched as the population grew from a handful of single men on Skid Row to single men and single women (housing prices rose) to single men and single women with children (housing prices rose again) to mom's and dad's with their children (housing prices rose once again) The price of housing has been out of reach for many for a long time and the middle class are now becoming homeless as well.

The cost of everything is out of proportion to what people are earning and therefore they must always be in debt and one paycheck from homelessness. The Housing Bubble broke, however, housing is still too expensive as the price of homes went too high over the past thirty years. The cost of home ownership is beyond the income of most.

We are building a whole culture and population of homeless that are now into second generations. What do you think the future of this will bring?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

More thoughts on the high cost of Necessities today and Economic Depressions

"Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it."

~ Philosopher, George Santayana

The "Great Depression" happened (coincidentally) when the people started living on credit and fell deep into debt.

Another interesting history fact: Pullman created his own community and town in Chicago. He paid low wages and charged high rent to the people who lived in his town. The people were paying high costs for necessities and the economy of this town failed. Sound familiar? The consequences of Greed?

"Pullman's misfortune came during the depression which followed the Panic of 1893. When demand for Pullman cars slackened, the Pullman company laid off hundreds of workers, and switched many more to pay-per-piece work. This work, while paying more per hour reduced total worker income. Despite these cutbacks, the Company did not reduce rents for those that lived in the town of Pullman. The Pullman Strike began in 1894, and lasted for 2 months." (wikipedia)

"Pullman ruled the town like a feudal baron. He prohibited independent newspapers, public speeches, town meetings or open discussion. His inspectors regularly entered homes to inspect for cleanliness and could terminate leases on ten days notice. The church stood empty since no approved denomination would pay rent and no other congregation was allowed. Private charitable organizations were prohibited." (wikipedia)

"The U.S. economy declined in 1893-94, causing a nationwide depression. To offset any losses to his investors and himself, Pullman drastically cut productivity in his factory and reduced wages by one-third without reducing rents, utility charges, or store prices. Since he deducted rent (approximately $14 per month) before paying wages (approximately $16 per month postreduction), workers found themselves taking home scant pay for their labor, if any at all.

The press censured Eugene V. Debs for taking a stand with the Pullman workers. (CHS)

The press censured Eugene V. Debs for taking a stand with the Pullman workers. (CHS)

Soon desperate Pullman workers and their families begged the company -and Pullman himself- to reduce rents during the tight economic times, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. In spring 1894, many Pullman workers turned for help to the American Railway Union (ARU), led by Eugene V. Debs. After Pullman refused to discuss employee concerns, 90 percent of his workers went on strike on May 11. ARU was sympathetic and called for a national blockade and work stoppage against all railroads using Pullman cars. Railroad management responded by firing all ARU members." (http://www.chicagohs.org/history/pullman/pul6.html)