HOUSING ALWAYS A BIGGER LOSS FOR THE POOR
(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)
(This blog post addresses how hypocritical and unfair housing is at the expense of the poor and to the benefit of the wealthy. Midfield Park and the British apartment fire are two examples used here.
Midfield Park is a 48 year old mobile home park with crumbling sewer infrastructure. As of August 2, 2014, the park had 306 residents in total, of which 104 were seniors and 7 were veterans. The plan to close the park has been ongoing for more than 10 years. Initially plans included relocation and building a new park, but plans for a new park were not realized. Many residents did upgrades to their properties over the years which $10,000 doesn’t even begin to cover. By the way, residents didn’t just include families, they included families and individuals (singles).
Many opinion letters were received from readers reiterating how poor always lose out. Also, generosity has been shown to immigrants, refugees and illegal asylum arrivals to Canada. Same dignity and respect needs to be shown to long time residents of Midfield Park who have paid their taxes, raised their families while taking care of their properties.
The third example is about DIY/Renovation/Real Estate TV programs – added Oct. 1, 2017.)
MIDFIELD PARK mess would never happen to the wealthy-handling of the Midfield Park a case of utter hypocrisy. Don Braid, Sept. 27, 2017 Calgary Herald (braid). (Reproduced here in shortened format).
The Midfield Park evictions are starting to look like trailer-park cleansing. These people – 183 families – are being treated very differently than well-to-do folks who find themselves in the way of city plans and projects.
The Midfield families get $10,000 for agreeing to ship out, plus up to $10,000 in moving expenses. There’s no compensation for lost value in mobile homes or other assets.
City council basically concludes that the family residences of these people are worthless.
The city provides counselling and moving assistance. A lot of effort has gone into it.
But the compensation is an insult to low-income people who already struggle. The city wouldn’t dare do this to an established middle-class neighbourhood, no matter how awful the sewer pipes.
About 150 families have already moved on. It would be ironic if after all this grief – three years of it – the courts conclude that the city had no right to evict them in the first place.
This week a judge suspended the final closing, set for Sept. 30, until a hearing set for Nov. 22.
The delay until after the Oct. 16 (city) election should not stop Midfield Park from being a powerful election issue.
Here’s a question for every candidate – should the city cheap out on these victims because they live in, say, Mount Royal or Mayfair?
A case from 2006-07 shows the utter hypocrisy of what’s going on in Midfield Park.
The city was building the Elbow Drive-Glenmore Trail interchange, at the time a hugely expensive mega project valued at $110 million.
Land had to be trimmed from the north side of Glenmore adjacent to Elbow Drive…..The project would eat away at the buffer between Glenmore and affluent neighbourhoods such as Bel Aire and Mayfair.
From this point, please note both the similarities between this situation and Midfield Park.
The plans were suddenly changed for the Elbow-Glenmore interchange. The project would infringe more closely on homes than previously expected. This infuriated residents who decided to stay based on the original design.
Midfield Park plans shifted, too — much more radically. The residents were first promised a complete replacement homestead, and then the city cancelled it.
The Bel-Aire and Mayfair homes were still perfectly viable. There was no need to expropriate or evict.
What the city did next astonishes me to this day.
Councillors approved the borrowing of $13 million to buy homes at market value, with the hope of selling them later at a profit.
They did this even though a couple of residents were still able to sell homes for nearly $1 million, because the market was soaring at the time
Effectively, the residents were insured against big losses even though the city had no obligation to help them. Bel-Aire and Mayfair are lovely neighbourhoods to this day.
Midfield Park, by extreme contrast, will cease to exist.
And yet, the compensation is pitiful. No family can recreate a similar home life in a new place for $20,000.
The city has offered nothing beyond the bare minimum that might stand up in court. It certainly hasn’t borrowed money to buy mobile homes at fair value
The city insists that Midfield has to close because of decrepit utilities…..The mayor points out the long notice given to residents and the city’s many efforts to relocate people to “a safe, decent place to live”.
All that may be so. But in your mind, please move this scene to, say, iconic Prospect Avenue in Mount Royal.
The city suddenly says to residents, “darn, your sewer pipes are going to explode so we have to shut down the whole street forever”.
“You’ll have to move, but we’ve got a nice package for you – $10,000 cash, and another $10,000 in moving expenses.”
Unimaginable? Of course.
But this is no fantasy in Midfield Park, where the full weight of city government falls on people without wealth or influence. It’s a true civic shame.
LONDON, ENGLAND APARTMENT FIRE
(The comments of a British politician says it all about the London apartment fire tragedy. This apartment was in midst of some of the wealthiest residents of London).
Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonald said the Grenfell victims were the result of politics.
“The decision not to build homes and to view housing as only for financial speculation rather than for meeting a basic human need made by politicians over decades murdered these families”. (From The Associated Press, with files from Postmedia News).
DIY/RENOVATION/REAL ESTATE TV PROGRAMS
For all the Canadian and American DIY, renovation and real estate programs on television, it is interesting how most of them have primarily married or partnered participants. Singles participants are in the minority. Why is that? Is it possibly because singles don’t have the finances do the DIY, renovations and buy the real estate at same level as married or partnered participants?
It is also interesting how Canadian and American programs require single marital status participants to have another person by their side in the programs. Singles get along very well by being independent, taking care of themselves and yet these programs insist on having another person attached as an appendage to the single participant. Why is that? Is it because singles are thought to be less interesting or unable to carry a conversation?
Two British programs that are a breath of fresh air are “The House that £100K built” and “The £100K house: Tricks of the Trade”. These programs actually have single marital status participants without a second person by their side and many the participants don’t have a whole lot of money for their renovations, some are as low as £7,000.
(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)