Thursday, June 16, 2022

How have environmental rule and regs worsened our housing for low income and middle class?

Because our AC died on the hottest day of the summer (95) and current EPA laws on R-22 prevent it being fixed (will have to replace) I was trying to research to what extent our energy and environmental laws have contributed to homelessness or even pricing low income out of real estate wealth or the competition for a good rental. It's only common sense that the constant drum beat of climate change on the building trades and the corresponding greater concern for mother earth than a mother in America has to hit the more fragile in the wallet. Zip, nada, zilch in the research, especially EPA and Energy Star articles. So I'll just continue to know in my gut that saving the environment is throwing a lot of people out of work and out of their homes. Soon, you may be seeing a lot of cars up on blocks as the bidenflation roars ahead.

But my eyes landed on an interesting fact sheet about homelessness in Washington DC. It decreased significantly under the Trump booming economy, but was still higher than most big cities. The January 2018 count (a point in time) showed 3,761 single adults, and 924 families (3,134 people), and 9 minors alone. So I took a closer look at the singles: 51% were chronically homeless, but only 19% of the adults in the families were chronically homeless. I think that was my big takeaway. 50% of the singles had formerly been institutionalized--from jail or hospital to the streets; 19% of the singles had a history of domestic violence, much lower than the family rate; 30% of the singles had chronic substance abuse and 32.7% had a history of mental illness; 24.6% of single homeless adults were chronically ill and 18% were disabled. Median age for the singles was 51 and for family adults 29.
I was a librarian not a social worker, so I won't suggest a solution, but I do know that saving families is a big part of the solution of homelessness, and housing is probably the smallest part. Families are a social safety net, and many of our government policies can't answer that need.

No comments: