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We Have A Housing Emergency. Here’s How We Face It


We Have A Housing Emergency. Here’s How We Face It

Isaiah Poole

The nation’s affordable housing crisis has morphed into a full-blown emergency.

Bernie Sanders recalled his own childhood growing up in a rent-controlled apartment in New York City, which “meant that my family, which did not have a lot of money, did not have to spend 50 or 60 percent of its limited income on housing.”(Photo: Caelie_Frampton/flickr/cc)


Coming out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I really like the work of Occupy Madison on this issue and donate to them regularly (see: https://occupymadisoninc.com).

I am also in awe of the scope of Jimmy Carter’s efforts with Habitat for Humanity (they’re up to about a million homes built now).



Something we can agree on dpearl! Habitat has done some wonderful things. The office I work in regularly turns out to help them locally.


The poster child for screwing owners out of their homes is Detroit and Wayne County.

When housing prices plummeted in 2008, they didn’t compensate by lowering assessed values for purpose of taxation. Now virtually all of Detroit is in arrears on property taxes owed and confiscation and auctioning off of homes–with owners still in them–is a huge money-maker for the city/county. 1 out of 3 homes has been foreclosed on!


Institutionalized plunder
The institutionalized usury has become so pervasive that it seems more amenable to the perpetrators to weather the hail storm that “constant growth” - which also includes DEBT - causes among WE THE PEOPLE. That is of course until folks get fully fed up with the insanity.

This is not a result of ‘homo sapiens sapiens’. This is due to sub-human hubris.


Housing is an important issue. Homelessness has become huge in the U.S. and much of it can be blamed on cuts in HUD funding beginning in the Reagan years and continuing until today. We are seeing the impact on our streets today. This is a crisis of huge magnitude and the human suffering is monumental. They had money for prisons and unlimited war funding but not for homes in the US.

How would we feel if the republicans and their enablers brought us several major hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes and all the suffering that goes with them? Well, that is essentially what they have done. I even believe that the 2008 financial crisis was a scheme devised to steal property from poor people and put it into the hand of the vested classes. Notice how so many of these homes that went into foreclosure were bought up using cash by a class of people who apparently were bailed out or not hurt by the 2008 crisis. They took advantage of other people’s suffering. That is the style of a certain class of people and they dominate Washington and Wall Street today.


What concerns me is the idea that no matter how much money gets set aside to subsidize housing for the poor, it will not be enough because Wall Street and the Banking cartels are hellbent on owning everything. And I do mean everything. They probably have fantasies of themselves living in the clouds while the rest of us live in tin-roof shanty towns - no in-between, no ‘middle’ class, just them, and the rest of us.

These people have no conscience and will not stop and worst of all currently control the economic/political process in the US and much of Europe, Asia and yes, Africa. Globalism seems to have won.

Half my heart bleeds; the other half waits for the collapse of civilization that surely must be coming.


Detroit has a different housing problem than San Francisco does. I will perhaps comment a bit about San Francisco in an hour. Detroit does not have the problem with a housing shortage or high home prices that San Francisco has. Home prices in Detroit are dirt cheap. Because there is so little demand for housing; so many people can’t get jobs in Detroit.

I have read that demand and prices are so low that entities that own many of the homes can afford to not pay property taxes. When the city and county get around to foreclosing on the property and tax-auctioning them off the entity buys the house (or another) at auction. That is cheaper than paying property taxes.

And so, no surprise at the amount of housing stock in Detroit that is destroyed each year in fire, or that whole neighborhoods and their streets of Flint, Michigan, are disappearing back into the prairie. Once again, the problem in Detroit is not availability of housing, it is availability of jobs and then making the ends, money vs. expenses, meet.


There are many sorts of and many causes of ‘housing emergency’. The stereotype is San Francisco, where there is much demand and too little supply. This causes gentrification and other effects. Gentrification, in the first paragraph, is simply supply and demand. High demand without an appreciable increase in supply means the price goes up and people who can’t pay that price either learn to cram together or move out. An economist would remark that the effect is not much different from price gouging in an emergency.

I remark that the blue blue bluest cities have the worst homelessness problem, while in cities in redder parts of the country it is a smaller problem. You would think that the blue blue progressive acmes (or sinks), all conscious of the emergency and the need to fix the emergency, would show us how to fix the emergency. I keep thinking of the scene in the movie ‘Dr. Zhivago’, after the Russian Revolution, when the doctor and his wife have to share her family’s mansion with several proletariats. How does Mia Farrow get off with such a large rent-controlled apartment?

I wish to point to ‘The Other Path’, by Hernando de Soto. A third of it is devoted to the impoverished of Lima Peru conducting land invasions, and building their own housing. I wish to point to the squatters movement in Europe, which seizes not-used property in European cities and puts it to use as housing. I have seen an article about a private enterprise that does a better job of providing affordable housing for the poor in Manila, The Philippines, than the government Affordable Housing Agency does.