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Poverty's ripple effect (part one)

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"Poverty. Children of poverty suffer the most." (Negotiating Shadows pg. 1) Poverty and addiction problems are linked. People in poverty have stress and that stress usually produces a need for a fix of some kind. A fix can be and often is cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, and certainly anger brought on by the fear of losing housing, income, relationships, dignity and respect. The fix can also be church, community gatherings, friends, family, counselors, activities and hope bases thinking and action. Most people in poverty turn to a combination of both.

But beyond the fix there is still poverty in a country of wealth. Since I am writing this in the US I am referring to problems here which are, if compared to other countries in 'real' poverty, perhaps not as bad as those other poverty profiles.

But here is the deal that is happening to many right here in my building in Portland, Oregon. I live in a mixed income building owned by HUD, managed by CM (their management company) and regulated by Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) who now call themselves 'Home Forward'. We who are Sec. 8 participants are being priced out of our homes.

Here is how this works---HUD gets monies to buy and build buildings that will give a rent break through Sec. 8 and title 42 for low income folks---they get a tax credit and hire a management company to manage their buildings. HF (HAP) works to administer all the particulars for HUD. Some low income are rent adjusted, some are even given free housing through other organizations that are paying the rent, etc. And they are portfolio managers too which means they are hired to get the most rent out of each unit possible. That is business. In the US it is the best of capitalism---

The property managers rate and value my apartments worth as, in the beginning, $700 plus which has gone up to $931 as of this writing. Sec. 8 rent adjust the increase so I can live here, in dignity, in a nice one bedroom apartment, in a good part of the community (downtown). Six months ago my rent went up by $50 with another increase of $50 a few days ago. I live on a very fixed income of $9,000 a YEAR! My rent increases are suppose to reflect around 30% of my income. It does not reflect this at all and when I called Sec. 8 they informed me they were going to have a hard time adjusting their portion of the rent so I will be absorbing more and more of the rent. We are hitting a brick wall here. I am being priced out of my now very expensive apartment. That's business and it is real poverty.

But here is the poverty part---and the sad part---I am a 72 year old well educated, articulate, dignified woman with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) who has and does still contribute much to the community through volunteerism---who is on a fixed income---who had some security with the grace of rent adjustment, food help, etc.---who is now facing being forced out of my home. It is real estate portfolio business. It is insidious. People will be on the streets soon. I hope it will not be me.

The sad part is this---I am grateful for the help I get from anywhere help comes from and even with this latest hit, I have to say, I am grateful that I pay $350 for a $900+ apartment. But because my income did not come up and Sec. 8 can't help me beyond their income I can't afford this place. I am appropriately fearful for my future and where I am going to go next---where my next home is going to be---how long I will be on wait list up to 10 years long---how I can afford the stress---and how long we all in this poverty profile can tolerate the lack of humanism, compassion, injustice and application of how this situation is handled.

My question is---can't this business be fair, just, honorable and done with a human being in mind as opposed to sheer profit? See, when I am swept from this apartment they will get up to $1,200. It seems money is more important than people---and that is why we have so much poverty in this country. So---my observation, my experience and the experience of all the one and two bedroom apartments in this building who got a $100 rent raise is being implemented as we speak. There are many low income people facing the streets and that can be a set up for a fix. Yes poverty and addiction is linked. Please get that!

When you are strolling the streets for a walk on a cool summer night you may want to focus on that gal or guy or even a whole family on the street, drunk, dirty, angry, trashed, and thrown away. That person could have been your neighbor in that HUD building that is hell bent on making a profit on the backs of the poor. Happening every day, in every city, to many poverty stricken here in US. I suggest we do something about it.

Prayers and good vibs please for us all.