Give a Man, Woman and Child a Home
Take a listen to this powerful rendition by Ben Harper and Blind Boys of Alabama of ‘Give a Man a Home.’
Recently I have been wondering about all the renters, people like me, and how they are fairing in this economic crisis. How many have lost their homes, their base, where did they end up?
I notice news reports only speak about home foreclosures. Not to belittle that coverage, I still ask where are the stats on renters? where are those voices? where are these people finding homes now? Why are we not part of the equation for the media, congress and treasury?
As I watch the plans for homeowner assistance languish, pushed to the back of the sea of hands stretching long for a bailing out, I ask myself, what objective are we achieving in allowing millions of Americans to lose their homes, and millions more renters to lose the roofs over their heads?
I know we can come up with intelligent solutions for truly solving our long standing housing crisis: the lack of affordable, accessible housing for people of all income levels.
A home is the very foundation upon which a life is built and I believe we can find ways to keep everyone in their homes until the storms blow over. To withstand the howling winds, we may have to acknowledge the extraordinary times in which we live and the extraordinary measures that must be taken to ensure the foundation of our economy is not blown apart by the gale force picking up speed racing over us.
Maybe we must, as I heard Depak Chopra speak of the crisis, regain our confidence. We must regain our confidence that we can house the people in our country, providing good, well constructed homes that we know will be the stage upon which individual lives are played out over a life time.
With my grandfather overseas serving in World War II, my grandma tried hard to make ends meet. She remembers what relief she felt when the owner said not to worry about paying all the rent on the house in which she and her two toddler boys lived until her husband returned and got himself a good job. She was grateful, and never forgot his kindness and long term vision. They ended up buying that little house a few short years later. My grandma naps today in her comfy chair by the window in the living room of that same house, now in her 94th year.
Perhaps we also have to regain our relationship to home and land, to recognize home is not there just to be traded, or broken down into little units by which some make lots and others gain no equity. Old arguments against such claims don’t stand up in the face of what seems like manipulations in favor of some and not the majority, threatening our country with the brink of financial ruin.
Let’s be creative, inventive, Carpe Diem! Ecological, cost effective homes built for a fraction of the cost to begin to house low-income people, and refugees of climate change, wars, famine, providing energy efficient, decent housing that can inspire dreams and hard work towards real strides in life quality. The staggering number of foreclosures may have been the fire alarm, but drills have been going on for a long time for many people in crumbling communities.
Good standing homeowners offered an opportunity for red-tapeless arrangements through a loan program with terms that offer long term, lower payment plans so that together, as partners, homeowners can recover their bearings, remain in their homes and keep their families together.
We need extraordinary measures to meet these challenges. Let’s start with the foundation and build our way up. Agreeing that there is a housing crisis does not make us weak. The crumbling of our foundation does.
Thank you Ben and the Blind Boys for singing it so well, and reminding me.
12-21 P.S. Here is an interesting article in the NYTimes today that discusses housing and what may have lead to the housing bubble itself. I found information and facts that I had not known previously. Interesting.
I do have a question though, how much did the tax break that ushered in the first administration eight years ago contribute to the housing market collapse, and what does spending 10 billion a month on a war have to do with it? How did the trading of mortgages en bulk impact the market? Sorry, three questions.
What seems exciting for the future is a national dialog on what housing really means to us as a nation, and more importantly, how we are going to ensure everyone, regardless of income, can have a decent house to call home.