Rental Housing Displacements Soar in Urban Areas: WaPo article raises questions

Yesterday, the Washington Post ran an article "The Profit in Decay"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/03/08/AR2008030802735. html

about how many landlords in Washinton DC are getting around laws restricting condominium conversions and rent increases by refusing to maintain buildings, and using intimidation tactics to drive tenants out, leaving many buildings first partially occupied, and eventually vacant.

When they finally succeed in driving their tenants away, emptying the buildings of tenants, they can convert the buildings to condominiums, often making huge profits.

Obviously, this makes many people homeless and further reduces the rapidly declining amount of affordable housing in cities.

The law says that if they want to convert a building to condos, they must pay relocation assistance, but despite these restrictions on condo conversions and rent stabilization laws - if they succeed in driving tenants out, they do not need to pay relocation assistance to anyone. City governments are overloaded with other problems and rarely stand in the way.

Many tenants tough it out for months or years, often without heat or hot water, because there is often nowhere else they can even remotely afford in the area.

This problem is not unique to Washington DC, its happening everywhere and middle and low income urban dwellers are being targeted for these removals. Neighborhoods are rapidy changing, as their community members are forced to leave, and cities are losing their diverse character.

Often the people who move in to these buildings have no idea that the previous tenants were in essence, 'economically cleansed' in this way.

Studies have shown that many displaced poor people have nowhere to go. Many older or disabled people, many who had been living on fixed incomes end up in homeless shelters or die.

There's more...

Interesting article on White House email controversy

I'm sure everyone has heard about the various tug of wars over the emails from the Bush Administration.

(And about extensive use of alternative RNC and Blackberry email systems that are out of the reach of these investigations)

Well, anyway, a new article has come out on this that looks interesting:

The White House email controversy: hearings spotlight disturbing IT practices
http://www.dominopower.com/issues/issue2 00803/00002140001.html

Quote:

"The Honorable Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States is a man so soft-spoken that members of the Committee had to repeatedly instruct him to speak up. The key message he presented is that while he's responsible for archiving Presidential records, he has no authority to get them. All he can do is ask the White House, and if the White House doesn't comply, he reports that to Congress."

There's more...

Oregon Holds Lottery For 3000 Slots in State Healthcare Program

According to the AP and the Wall Street Journal, (see link below) Oregon is going to have a lottery in which its 600,000 uninsured people can apply for a chance at winning one of 3000 memberships in its state run health insurance program.

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ie =UTF-8&ncl=1138706667

I think this situation is absolutely terrifying. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are falling over themselves to end "medical losses" (payouts) by kicking sick people off of their rolls.

What are we going to do? I don't think that the folks in Washington, even the Democratic candidates and their
much promoted 'plans' really realize just how urgent the situation is for people or why keeping the present model just isn't going to work.

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads