No One Wants To Fix The Housing Crisis.

All over the world people are struggling to find a place to live. I'm not talking about the chronically homeless that have other demons to fight, such as drug addiction, alcoholism, or mental illness. I'm talking about your friends, family members, and even co-workers who have steady income and stable housing histories but can no longer afford to buy a home or rent an apartment. Until just recently, decent homes could be found for sale in the southern United States for under $100,000 for an older property and around $150,000 for new construction. But check out the little house listed for sale in North Carolina at a whopping $275,000. For that price you get a decent sized lot for a city property, but only 2 bedrooms and only a half bath. It doesn't even have a kitchen according to the real estate agent's listing. If you want something with a full bathroom and functioning kitchen, expect to pay $350,000 and up. Way up. I'm sure people living in California think these prices are bargains, but in an area where most people make less than $20 an hour, buying a house that costs a quarter million dollars or more is a fantasy, not a realistic goal.

If buying a house isn't possible, how about renting an apartment? Not so fast! There's a shortage of rental properties all across America, and it's a problem other nations are facing as well. Even though we've just allegedly come through a pandemic with millions of deaths, for some reason every city and town has waiting lists for apartments, and rents have doubled and even tripled. How can all the apartments be full if so many people died from covid? At the same time that rents are skyrocketing due to a lack of available units, businesses are struggling to find enough employees to keep their doors open. If we don't have enough people to fill jobs, how do we have too many people for the available housing? It makes no sense. And don't blame unemployment benefits for the lack of employees. Most of the pandemic relief funds dried up long ago, and some greedy states are even trying to claw back the money they gave out. But regardless, if you go out apartment hunting, here's what you might find:

Yes, a one bedroom apartment that's under 700 square feet will cost you $2623 per month on a twelve month lease. And that's an older property where the same apartment rented for under $800 two years ago. I've seen other apartment complexes renting at $1200 to $1500 per month, almost double their rates from a year ago. Anything under $1000 is probably in a high crime area you'd rather not live in. 

But that's not the worst of it. Many apartments require a full month's rent up front as a security deposit, and some rental companies now "nickel and dime" their tenants with mandatory extra fees for parking, "valet" trash collection, water bills, and usage of amenities such as the fitness room that no one uses. One company even charges $4 per month for pest control, something that should be a part of the basic rent. The greed being demonstrated by landlords is astonishing. In my city, senior citizens have been forced out of apartment complexes in mass evictions after rents nearly tripled. City officials say they're unable to do anything to ease the situation.

And something rarely mentioned is what it takes to qualify to get into one of these overpriced apartments. Landlords have traditionally required proof of income that is 3 times the monthly rent. When average rents were $600 to $800, most working people qualified. But with typical rents being $1500, the income required to qualify is now $4500 per month. Even someone earning $20 an hour would not be accepted as a new tenant in most of the apartment complexes in America. Getting a roommate is an option, but most landlords require all parties on the lease to earn 3 times the monthly rent. They won't accept two combined incomes to reach the 3X requirement.

So houses are too expensive and apartments are out of reach. What are the alternatives? You might consider building a tiny house somewhere, since they can built for under $10,000 if you're frugal and creative. You might even have a friend who lets you build your house in his backyard. But no so fast! City, county, and state building codes and zoning laws will almost certainly stop you in your tracks. And if the government doesn't catch you, that nosy "not in my neighborhood" neighbor will certainly turn you in to the authorities so they can fine you and tear down your new home.

That leaves tent cities and homeless encampments, which are also targets of city officials and nosy neighbors. Or you could throw away everything you own and move into a homeless shelter. But you can only stay a couple of months before they tell you to leave, and the shelters are all full anyway.

The lack of affordable housing is a major crisis that's only going to get worse due to inaction by developers and government officials. Developers are only interested in building luxury properties that earn the greatest return on their investments. Governments say they can't afford to build public housing, but often the truth is that property developers moonlight as city council members and they don't want cheap housing built that will suppress the value of the properties they own. Governments build just enough housing so that it looks like they're working on the problem, but not enough to make a real difference. 

And so the problem continues, and it continues to get worse. It's gotten so bad where I live the city has opened a parking lot with security guards where people can safely sleep in their cars at night. Many of these people are single moms with kids who could afford a decent place to live just a few months ago. Apparently the greed of landlords hasn't kept them from getting a good night's sleep in their posh homes overlooking the golf course. They're certainly not sleeping in their cars.

The housing crisis could be solved if governments would get out of the way. People need to be allowed to build tiny homes on small lots. Regulations need to be amended to allow rainwater collection or bulk water deliveries instead of requiring city water hookups or expensive wells. Composting toilets need to allowed as an option instead of requiring a septic tank or city sewer service. People should allowed to live permanently in RV's on private land without the city or county forcing them to move. These changes would make housing more accessible to more people and could ultimately reduce crime thanks to there being less pressure to come up with enough money to get off the streets. 

This is a crisis that is easily fixed if people would just be willing to fix it. Will we do it? Or will we turn a blind eye to the suffering until that suffering becomes our own?

Stop Waiting For Heroes.

As a long-time observer of politics and human behavior, something I see over and over is hero worship. There's something about us, perhaps it's all the constant brainwashing, that makes us view the world like a spectator sport. Instead of taking action to solve our problems, we pick political heroes to do the work for us. We place our heroes up on pedestals and treat them almost as gods, clinging to their words, believing their promises, and waiting for miracles.

But nothing much changes. Our heroes aren't gods. Their words are nothing but opium. Their promises are rarely kept. The miracles never come. Often our heroes lead us deeper into despair than we were before we met them.

I don't really blame them. After all, they're just people like you and I. Perhaps a bit more charismatic, but they have flaws like everyone else. 

When each of our heroes fails to deliver in their turn, we abandon them and find someone new to pin our hopes to. 

Over and over. Again and again.

Relying on heroes causes us to sit idly by, doing nothing but complaining about how bad the world is.

We never stop to think that we are the heroes we're looking for. Each of us has the power to create change. Each of us has some unique skill that can make a positive difference. And when we come together, even for brief moments, we can get more done than any false hero ever could.

So stop waiting for heroes to save us. You and I are all we need. 

The Problems Of The World Are Caused By Your Obedience.

It's easy to blame the psychopaths for all the oppression and chaos we're seeing today. But the problems of the world aren't caused by insane politicians. They're caused by our obedience to them.

Fascism and tyranny cannot exist without our compliance.

Mass non-compliance will set us free.

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