The Grim Math of the Working-Class Housing Crisis

Source: Sarah Goodyear, Atlantic Cities, October 22, 2013

…The deeper and more systematic erosion of urban life is happening among a less glamorous set of people – the ones who fill the tens of thousands of jobs that undergird every single U.S. city.

These are the home health aides, the fast-food workers, the janitors, the teachers’ aides, the delivery people, the manicurists, and countless others who are making more than minimum wage but less than enough to meet the soaring cost of living – not just in New York, but in cities around the country. These people, increasingly, are falling off the shaky ladder of economic viability, and many are being pushed into homelessness….

….Families that experience homelessness, and those at risk of homelessness, almost by definition lack the financial resources to make a move to some cheaper place hundreds or thousands of miles away. They are understandably reluctant to sever ties to family and friends where they have lived for perhaps all their lives (this reluctance is wise, as the risk of homelessness increases among people who live far from social support networks). And they are ill-positioned to find a job in a far-off cheaper city before they move there, meaning that even if they were able to make a wrenching move, they could find themselves in the same position once again. …

… Even moving to a suburb within commuting distance of jobs is unrealistic for most low-wage workers. The cost of housing is still significant, and the cost of transportation much greater: grueling commutes and finding adequate child care for longer hours take another kind of toll….
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Will Work for Inspiration
Source: David Byrne, Creative Time Reports, October 7, 2013