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Welcome to the Hotel California

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Homeless in the USA.. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

The homeless population in Long Beach California has increased by 62% since 2020 with hundreds of homeless people having died due to extreme heat. Rents are soaring everywhere in America, especially in big metropolitan cities. Evictions are rising sharply with the end of the pandemic moratorium.

In New York alone, there are roughly 2000 eviction cases filed by landlords each and every week.

Even with lowered demand for property, prices of homes are still on the rise. In fact, house prices have seen the 123rd consecutive month of year over year increases.

Rising mortgage rates are also turning people's dreams of owning a home into an absolute nightmare.


The housing crisis in America

Why is the cost of rent rising so rapidly? And what is behind the mass evictions? What is the status of homelessness and what is being done to help the homeless?

The US housing crisis has been ongoing for some time. The COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment, rising inflation, gas price hikes and mortgage rate growth, have exacerbated this crisis.

Rental costs have gone up nationwide. The average rent in Manhattan reached $4,000 In May, which is the highest price ever reported. This equates to a more than 25% increase since the previous year.

Many left New York at the start of the pandemic causing the rent prices to drop, due to lowered demand. Now with COVID-19 infections and deaths going down, some are returning only to find themselves facing extraordinarily high rental costs.

Everything was so much more expensive than what they had before. Right now I'm paying a grand (one thousand dollars) more. It’s a huge difference and will change my lifestyle.

New Yorker

The real problem is not just isolated in New York. In fact, it's worse in some other cities and states. Miami was the country's most overvalued rental market in May for a third consecutive month. Renters in Miami are paying 22.7% higher than expected based on historical trends in individual markets.

As a rule, rent increases by about %2 to 3% a year, but this year the US average rental costs rise was about 15.87%. And some places, like Miami, saw an increase of more than 31%.

So what are the problems with housing today in America?

I think the most the most dire problem in the United States is homelessness is rapidly expanding. There's super high inflation within the housing market. Rents are higher. It's harder to get a home. Credit is becoming harder to get, to get a home, and the homes that are available have gone dramatically up in price in recent years.

And these problems are a result of our banking system. We have a laissez faire, you know, a few monopoly banks own the entire economy and there's little or no regulation on it.

Dust James, Radio Host

With rental costs skyrocketing if you think buying a home would be a better option today, you need to think again. Even though the housing market is slowing down, buying a home has not become any more affordable.

 And while purchase demand has dropped, prices are still rising. According to CoreLogic, home prices reached an all time high in April. During that month, they grew by almost 21% from 2021. So what are some of the reasons behind the housing crisis?

Maybe you could just say it's an end result of monopoly capitalism, you know, if you allow these cartels to form, if you don't break them up at some point which we have laws on the books to do that; the Sherman Antitrust Act, Clayton Antitrust Act, you know, these companies could be broke up.

You know, we could also be talking about rent controls, you know, to help people out. ... the Fed is behind the curve and raising rates really fast, but right now, you still don't see any relief in the housing sector. So ... increasingly, families are just having to spend all their money on rent and/or a mortgage payment.

And then they've got maybe some left for gas and food and that's about it. And of course the sanctions that the US put on Russia don't help because, you know, it's not, you know, Biden says it's Putin's war that is causing inflation, but it's not. It's the sanctions that the Biden administration, along with the EU, put on Russia that are causing another leg up in inflation.

Dean Henderson, Author and Political Analyst

The price rise in April was the 123rd consecutive month of year over year increases. Researchers believe that the price gains are related to the growth of mortgage rates, which has caused buyer urgency, a shortage of homes for sale and buyers urgently wanting to buy before another possible rise in mortgage rates, are said to be the main reasons for the higher prices. According to the National Association of REALTORS, housing affordability has dropped by 29%, which is the worst annual decline on record.

That's because it's getting harder and harder to get a home. Well, first of all, the wages are stagnant. Inflation is reaching double digit numbers [sic]. There's less and less jobs available. The mortgage companies are making it less likely for young folks getting houses ... as well as people in general. To get houses.

Let's compare this to China, where they have a nationalized banking system, where the government controls the banks and lends money to things that benefit society. You have a 90% homeownership rate.

In the United States, the banks can do whatever they want to get a profit. So they invest in things like prisons, and military, in wars and destruction.

Dust James, Radio Host

In many cities, the COVID 19 eviction moratorium has expired or will soon do so. Consequently, thousands of souls are facing eviction. Some renters have applied for rental assistance from the state, but many have been denied or have not been approved in time for the eviction suspension expiration date.

And I pray and I pray to God that they'll do something for this program,that they'll do something for our people, because this was supposed to help people, not have people like this [pointing at herself on the street].


In Detroit, even though there were pandemic eviction prevention measures put in place thousands of households were evicted during the past two years.

A report by Stout, a global investment bank and advisory firm, found that evictions are pushing people out of Detroit. The report analyzed 30,000 recent eviction filings, and discovered that only 4% of Detroit tenants had actual legal representation as opposed to 83% of landlords.

How are evictions affecting the poor and minority communities?

Well, that's who gets hit the hardest, you know, every time there's an economic downturn or every time there's inflation, because those are the people that have the least expendable income already.

So the people at the bottom of the of the economic rung are always the first to feel the pain. And I think now you're seeing it creep up into the middle class, but that middle class is shrinking. It has been shrinking for many years in America.

And so now, you've got a situation where, yeah, food banks, there's lines at Food Banks everywhere. And you know, people are just coping the best they can. There's a lot of people living in their cars in this country. It would shock you how many people you know, are just homeless living in their cars.

People crashing on couches of their friends, because they just simply, you can't even afford to rent a place anymore. So it's definitely hitting the low income people, the minority people, the hardest. And that's, you know, that's just always the way it is.

Dean Henderson, Author and Political Analyst

Nationwide eviction affects African American communities and female headed households disproportionately. Tenants in low income communities cannot afford legal assistance, while landlords can and this affects the outcome of the eviction cases dramatically.

The Stout Report states that a right to counsel program could prevent more than 6000 evictions a year in the city and that is just by providing legal assistance.

I think the homelessness population has increased drastically. People are moving in with family members. Young adults are staying at home. People are being forced to live in these more communal structures. Young adults are being forced to live through a extended period of adolescence which is causing depression, drug abuse, suicide, and a host of other problems.

Dust James, Radio Host

In a newly published piece "homelessness is a housing problem", the author argues that the problems peripheral to increasing rental costs and evictions are creating more homelessness in Fresno than drug abuse or mental illness.

You know, it's just like everything seems like, in America nowadays, it's like instead of really dealing with the root cause, which of course is the inflation in the housing market and the rent market.

So then instead of dealing with that, they come along and they'll build low income housing, for example, subsidized to build these low income so called apartments, and even these so called Low Income apartments I know around this area it's just shocking how much they get for them. I mean, it's still really expensive for people.

Dean Henderson, Author and Political Analyst

The homeless population in Long Beach has risen by 62% in the past two years. The city's mayor has said that the pandemic has made the local and statewide homelessness crisis even more challenging.

According to city data, nearly 44% of homeless people have said that they have become homeless because of financial troubles. A Long Beach homeless service provider cited the pandemic and high rents as the main causes of this spike in the number of homeless.

You're seeing a lot of repression I was listening on the radio and in some wealthier communities, they were giving bus tickets to other cities where people have to sign up and say, Oh, I ain't coming back again. I'm gonna get this bus ticket, and I ain't coming back again.

There's been forceful evictions of shanty towns and encampments. We have been trying to hide the homeless problem, rather than build people's houses. You have this ill fitting homeless architecture, where they put spikes down in the concrete, and they put they put a bar in between the benches and they basically push people into places like Skid Row.

You see a massive, a lot of, a lot of the homeless, you know, in the center of the country.

Dust James, Radio Host

Soaring house costs and unemployment put 600,000 people on housing in 2020 This is while hundreds of homeless persons have died in extreme heat. Excessive Heat is the cause of more weather related deaths in the United States than catastrophes such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes combined. Of the 1500 annual deaths due to heat in the country, half are believed to have been homeless. So what is the government doing about the housing crisis?

Nothing. Because we have two parties in this country, the Democrats and the Republicans. They're both beholden to corporate interests. There is no party of the working class. anymore. The Democrats used to be that party.

And yeah, again, so if you if you were serious about helping people out you would put rent controls in, you would put price controls on food, price controls on gas, you would break up the meatpacking cartel and break up the oil cartel. You would make it a state oil company, just seize the assets of these companies. And you know, you would do things like that.

That's what a real Left Party would do. But there's no left party in America anymore given they've been both bought off by the corporate PAC money. And every election cycle we see the person that gets the most money from corporations wins. It's just that simple. So it's really hard for a working class person to even get into the political arena and win an office and do good for people because if you don't if you're not beholden to the corporate interests, you just really don't have a chance of winning, so the entire political system in America is broke.

And I really don't see any way out rather than an external shock, which we're kind of seeing now with Russia and this situation. That will straighten it out. So yes, it's they're not doing anything and they won't do anything. Until people demand that they do something.

Dean Henderson, Author and Political Analyst

Due to global warming temperatures are on the rise nearly everywhere in the world. High temperatures, coupled with drought in parts of America has created more frequent and intense heat waves. Now in Phoenix, Arizona, at least 130 homeless people were among 339 people who died as a cause of heat waves in 2021. Now, experts believe that temperatures and drought will not improve this year either and it may even get worse.

You know, I grew up working class working class poor, and a large portion of that was in trailer parks. And the way that goes is you buy an old trailer or a new trailer. And once you own that you have to pay the lot rents. And this situation is a lot cheaper than then renting a house outright.

But in recent years, a lot of the trailer parks were bought up by these huge international companies, and they recognize that the housing market is unregulated. Other parts of the economy are less, or not as stable, to invest in.

So they're buying up all these trailer parks raising the rents and essentially forcing out people and then making improvements and raising the rents up further. So one of the aspects of affordable housing, which was trailer parks, is also becoming further and further privatized by these banking institutions.

Dust James, Radio Host

For the first time in Oregon, officials open 24 hour cooling centers, volunteers offer popsicles to the homeless and they can enjoy the cool breeze of fans at the center. Advocates in Phoenix hoped that a recently converted vacant building to a 200 bed shelter for the homeless would help save lives in the extreme heat this summer.

Some teams in Las Vegas were also delivering bottled water to the homeless, that are living in encampments around the country. In San Francisco and elsewhere. gentrification is blamed for adding homelessness and hiking up property prices.

In this city for every 100,000 residents there are 512 unsheltered homeless people, which is far more than in New York, Boston, Washington or Chicago.

 It's interesting to note that according to the US Census Bureau, in the first year of the COVID 19 pandemic, San Francisco lost more than 6% of its population.

Yeah, it's really affecting a lot, especially certain parts of the country. I used to live in Montana. Probably 15 years ago, I left Montana because the Californians were moving in and in California,You know, you can sell your house for half a million dollars even if it's a shack and you can go to Montana and buy a mansion; well not anymore. Now that's moving west or moving east I'm sorry. You know, I live in western South Dakota in the Black Hills. And I've seen the same people that moved into Montana, they're pushing this way for housing here. You can't buy a house where I'm at for under $300,000, something like that.

Dean Henderson, Author and Political Analyst

The housing crisis in the US has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising unemployment and high inflation. Rents are skyrocketing, the poor and especially many in the minority communities, simply cannot afford a place to live.

Evictions have been on the rise and more and more families are finding themselves out on the streets.

The state and federal authorities are doing very little and homeless can only find some temporary relief in the activities of some volunteer and charity organizations.


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