Herding the incomes of the young into deteriorating assets like housing is a dangerous misallocation of capital and investment. Investing heavily in housing means those incomes are not being invested in productive opportunities in other sectors of the economy, whether that is investment in the stocks of other companies, or individuals starting their own businesses.
Another fascinating documentary, “Happy,” entered my consciousness yesterday. It talks about what makes for happiness. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “flow” — if not, the movie is an excellent primer. But beyond flow, the film also provides research about how little social status and money (above a certain basic minimum for health and safety) really have to do with happiness. Parts that were particularly intriguing were the descriptions of Co-housing in Denmark, and how people there report record high levels of happiness and contentment. Co-housing exists in America, but not at all to the degree it does in Denmark. It might be an interesting model for Americans to allow into their field of vision, now that we have suffered a massive economic downturn and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure. Maybe we could even try a co-housing development with the bond money that will be on the Rhode Island ballot this November.
You will notice a lot of “For Sale” signs on houses in our neighborhood and pretty much any neighborhood in Cranston. A quick look at the Zillow map for Cranston says there are 538 homes for sale or rent in the city. Let’s hope we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and become the healthy home ownership society many of us were raised to believe in. This article from the New York Times helps to give more substance to the reality of America’s newest poor folk. The New Suburban Poverty – NYTimes.com.
I’m sitting here now resting my back from helping to haul an especially heavy dead water heater up some ancient stone steps. The guys had to reach consensus at points in the process, and– what I really appreciated– no one told me I couldn’t help because I’m a girl. We got it out of the cellar without anyone getting hurt, but I have taken some preventative Ibuprofen. Haven’t done that since I took karate.
Many hands make light work, they say. The work was still pretty heavy, but Occupy made fast progress with a much-needed Spring cleaning at House of Compassion today. Bringing the spirit of an old-fashioned barn-raising, we cleared out and sorted furniture and assorted cardboard and stuff that really never will come in handy.
I brought some compact florescents to bring the cellar into the 21st Century. Artemis Moonhawk was directing the crew (as much as you can direct a crew largely composed of philosophical anarchists). She showed me the room that was a part of the Underground Railroad. The room had a small window with wooden bars. Artemis said that the Abolitionists would fool the fugitive slave hunters that they were keeping prisoners there– instead of helping them escape.
I have an interest in old houses, especially the cellars. My first place away from home was the Kingston Inn, near URI. That house was older than the USA. So is the House of Compassion, built around 1730, according to the residents, maybe at the time of the Revolutionary War, according to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s listed as the Luke Jillson House.
Lived in for over 250 years it’s a home, not a museum. It shelters about ten people who share this beautiful house in Northern Rhode Island.
House of Compassion has always struggled financially, more in these times of budget cuts. There are nursing homes and high rise buildings, and these are necessary, but not the right choice for everyone. House of Compassion is more than just care and housing for a few people. It’s a model of alternative housing. Small and personal, respecting the individuality of the residents.
One focus of Occupy Providence is homelessness and preventing evictions. Coming to the aid of House of Compassion is very much in keeping with the spirit of economic justice and direct action.
This is a work weekend. Cleanup continues Sunday. Occupy Providence can be reached on Facebook, here.
This is an interesting way to view things, for the sake of experimentation. I would like to see how corporate education reformers would respond to this.
Safe and affordable housing for people with disabilities is not a ‘one size fits all’ proposition. House of Compassion in Northern Rhode Island is in danger of closing. Ten people call House of Compassion their home, small and personal, pets allowed.
For more information, or to help, visit their website here.