Housing & Homelessness (News)

Forget the Banks: Bail Out the Poor

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 3:09pm

Ask anyone why the government doesn’t build housing for every person in this country who needs it, and you’ll get the answer you always receive. Ask why the government doesn’t turn around tomorrow and set up a universal healthcare plan and there’s that answer again. Ditto for making education and public transportation free. It’s always the same stock response: Our government doesn’t have the dough.

Yet this same government can spend trillions on two wars that were unprovoked, not to mention completely immoral. Government also has the loot to bail out banks in our current mortgage crisis. It’s already bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Millions of Americans are losing their homes because of predatory lending practices, and they don’t get any help. It’s not called welfare for the rich for nothing.

The Hidden Tenant Impacts of Proposition 6

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 3:00pm

Proposition 6 on the November ballot—characterized by proponents as a “comprehensive anti-gang and crime reduction measure”—is an ill-conceived statewide measure with hidden provisions that hurt California tenants.

Buried in the complex language of Prop 6 are provisions that take aim at tenants with Section 8 vouchers, as well as other provisions that target tenants who live at properties where the government undertakes anti-gang enforcement efforts.

Legal and illegal, Latinos labor to rebuild Texas: Homeowners look to them for cleanup; illegal workers fear being cheated

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 2:40pm

PASADENA, Texas - All along the Texas coast, Latino immigrants are hauling away fallen trees, slashing through storm-tangled brush, patching punctured roofs.

On working-class corners, on ladders in front of Victorian houses, in the yards of ornate mansions, crews of men in dusty jeaImage: Homeowner negotiates with Latino laborersns, sturdy workboots and baseball caps are nearly as omnipresent in the post-Hurricane Ike landscape as blue tarps on rooftops.

These workers, who get picked up off the street by homeowners looking for quick, cheap labor, are helping to rebuild the devastated cities of southeast Texas.
Many of them are here illegally. Others are legal residents in need of income after their regular jobs were disrupted by the hurricane.

Ike brought a wide swath of destruction, and with it the prospect of more work, higher wages and a respite from the ever-present threat of deportation. In recent months, many day laborers say, jobs in the Houston area had started to dry up, and police and immigration officials had been cracking down.

Food programs across county are seeing increased demands

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 2:49pm

Crystal Whitehead sat down with her family to a free hot lunch at Antioch's Light Ministries church for the first time last week. It was also the first time the 26-year-old mother of three had ever sought this kind of assistance.

"Normally, I feel there's other people out there that need (these programs) more than I do," she said.

While her husband stealthily forked a bite of salad off her plate, Whitehead said that with the price of basic necessities jumping and her husband, a hardwood floor installer, out of work, her family needs the help right now.

Oakland plans to abandon the poor in public housing

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 2:35pm

If the board members of the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) have it their way, Oakland may end up losing $10,717,140 per year in federal funding for 1,615 public housing units, which may result in the displacement of 1,554 low-income families from Oakland's public housing. This includes a total of 3,885 family members including children, the aged, disabled and infirm.

With a disastrous housing crisis in full bloom, home foreclosures at an all time high, while the market is saturated with tons of unwanted residential buildings due to a housing market that is as unstable as it has ever been, on September 22 the board members of the Oakland Housing Authority plan to vote on a scheme to dispose of 254 housing sites in Oakland, including 332 buildings mostly filled with very low-income African American public housing tenants.


Homeless pitching tent cities across U.S.

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 2:14pm

A few tents cropped up by the railroad tracks, pitched by people left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer. Then others appeared - folks who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a tent city - an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.


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