housing

Poor, Unfortunate Souls

Even though the dotcom boom declined in 2003, many people bought houses which led to the housing bubble, which burst in 2008. Because wages still had not picked up, more people were renting, which continues to this day. While the propaganda of home ownership has continued, more people are staying in their rentals, but in an effort to push people towards mortgages, rental rates have increased beyond working class wages. For the elite, such is almost irrelevant, as many of them maintain rental properties and will benefit either way. For the marginalized, this is a continued attack on the ability to function in areas with supposedly more job opportunities. Consequently, the difference between being in wealthy communities and impoverished communities is choice.

Ironically, the most expensive places in a city are the places that are most accessible by public transit, and it is ironic because most of the people in those areas are not transit users. People on the margins live in areas where there is a constant effort to remove public transit because “no one uses it,” completely discounting service workers who need it just to get hiking or biking distance to their jobs. Often, if poor people are forced to have cars, they drive high mileage cars with no insurance, making it more traumatic both for them and for those driving with them. Therefore, navigability options exist for people with means while financial ruin awaits those who can least afford it.

Additionally, the advantaged often have choices about their amenities, such as banking, groceries, healthcare providers and utilities. While internet service providers advertise all over town, they come first to the wealthy. To add insult to injury, most administrative services like rent and utilities are switching to online transactions, meaning that those without internet could face additional charges. Though the disadvantaged may wish to take a stand against certain banking practices, they are forced to use whatever financial services are immediately available to them. Because of a lack of investment in health from either public or private entities, there is an ongoing perception that poor people do not care about health.

Finally, deprived populations have very few opportunities for labor, and are thrust into low-paying service work, trade work if they are lucky enough to have afforded the training. Many work in jobs that are quickly being replaced by technology, and too many are not afforded opportunities for professional development that could sustain their families without assistance. The social patricians are meanwhile courted by a number of companies who flaunt their abilities to live in only wealthy neighborhoods inaccessible by transit. It remains true that without significant income, one is unable to attain significant income.

Telling people without options and income to move is insensitive to the experience of different social classes. Yes, in theory, people would be able to move where they have more options had they been given access to the same conveniences. Instead, they remain punished for the lack that they already feel on a daily basis.

 

 

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