Time for Uncle Sam to Build Housing for People Without Homes

While Patty Murray and the majority of her colleagues in Congress were voting in 700 billion dollars to bail out Wall Street investment banks and firms, in which many of the executives in those businesses were getting unbelievably excessive bonuses, the problems of the homeless in America have been getting worst. For all the ideas for solving the problem of homelessness in America, there is one simple idea: build affordable housing. If there is enough affordable housing, this will do more to alleviate homelessness than anything else.

Minimum wages, part-time jobs, and unemployment compensation cannot pay the high rents in America these days unless nearly every single dollar that a worker gets goes into paying rent, and even then, with the way housing costs are increasing, that may not be enough. Many homeless people do not have jobs anyway. The private companies that build apartments generally will not build affordable units anymore, because the profits are not big enough for them. YMCA's have generally gone out of the low-income housing business in the last generation and have concentrated on being physical fitness centers instead, and other organizations have not taken their place to the same degree. The government needs to step in and start building housing on a massive scale for both individuals and families.

The government should build townhouses and YMCA-style buildings in every metropolis, with buildings designed for the elderly, single persons, families, and those with low paying jobs. These buildings, apartments and rooms should be of a high-grade level, though not necessarily luxurious. The government should charge very low rents for those who have low-income jobs or who are part-time college or trade school students, and provide free housing for those who are earnestly looking for a job or who are full-time college or trade school students. This should be an income-based program. Free housing, of course, should be available to those who are unable to work at all and have no source of income.

Just 10% of the money that Congress donated to Wall Street recently should be able to pay for this housing program. Not all of the 700-or-so billion dollars should go to Wall Street, a direct payment should be made to every single American, which would in turn help to re-vitalize the economy, and it should go to save the auto industry as well. Building homes would actually solve the problem of Americans not having a home, and the real estate profiteers might actually have to lower their prices once they know that Uncle Sam will be on the field as a housing market competitor.

[This essay was revised on 12/14/08.]

Copyright 2008, Party of Commons TM