When building affordable houses…

large-family…what about large families, both those with multiple children and multi-generational ones? New developments — gentrification — are squeezing out big families.

I wrote this for The Hill.

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12 responses to “When building affordable houses…

  1. Hartford will have plenty of living spaces for large poor families. No multi-generational or single-generational family that can afford to live outside the city, would dare move in and gentrify it. And take space away from the large “poor” family. Again, I’m probably sounding heartless in my observations (I’m not but remarks sometimes deceive the reader), but if a family can’t afford to be large, perhaps they should practice a form of “family planning?” Just saying. And my remark is certainly not directed at any ethnicity. My father came from a family with 13 kids. And his father was a shoe maker. Christ sake, what the hell was he doing? Well, I know what he was doing with his wife (my grandmother) every evening.

    I could understand if they were farmers and needed free labor to grow crops like many previous generations of subsistence farmers. . But how many shoes can you make or repair in order to provide for a family of 15 people?

    It is my nature to critize my own and this propensity gives me cover when taking on a point of view such as this. And I still believe in feeding an aging homeless man.

    • I think it’s a lot more complex than “Don’t have money? Don’t have kids.” It’s like we are asking people who are poor not to have sex — because we certainly manage to make birth control less accessible than it should be (says me). But that’s the topic of another thread, I guess.

      • We need more data to assess the extent of the problem, I think. More data on income distribution per family size and type, especially by region, might help planners and lawmakers more accurately assess need.

      • There is also another point that is perhaps best left for another thread. I recall as you do I think , but you are younger than I, but the hot discussion in the mostly 1960s was talking about the population explosion. Funny you never ever hear any of this issue. We not read and discuss global warming and how to use cleaner energy.

        This always plays into my formation of opinion when discussing family size. So it is related, I say respectfully. My original thoughts upon reading about Bobby Kenndy and his very large family was, “doesn’t he believe in controlling the population even though he could afford an army of kids?

        I am obviously serious about this. Around 1960, world population was three billion? Now it has more than doubled? When do we begin paying more attention to this issue? When we reach 10 billion? 20 billion? When does the discussion begin again? 50 billion?

        So I do have a beef with large wealthy families, too.

        Happy Labor Day and that includes mamas waiting in pre-Natal.

      • And I never said if one is poor, one should not have kids. No no no. Perhaps some of what gets my goat are the pro- lifers and religious fanatics who strongly oppose any form of abortion and family planning yet have little or no interest to adopt all those unwanted brown babies. They hold their signs and pictures of aborted fetuses (not living babies) and pthumb rosary beads but ask them some time, how many babies they have taken in.

        Am I off topic again, lol?

    • Family planning is good, if it’s accessible.
      But none of that personal responsibility stuff addresses the existing problem.

      “Sucks to be you,” distracts from the problem of large households accessing affordable housing, and the lack of consideration for large households in public housing policy and urban/suburban/rural planning in general.

      It also fails to take into consideration the volatility of markets and the economy in general, and a host of socioeconomic and cultural factors, regional and national, especially over the last 20 years or so.

      • I am generally in agreement that it remains the responsibility of government to step forward and fill in the gap that the corporate community has opened as a result of their very successful lobby of Congress to amend laws in their favor. Specifically, I refer to the pay scales from post WWII with middle income expansion to today’s wages that a full time job now is infufficient for an unskilled person to live on. On the other hand, I am not in favor of a nanny state. So somewhere, there must be a middle ground. And I know this is parallel to the original topic but it is related.

        So to address the original issue. Is the government responsible to provide large living environments for large impoverished families. I won’t or can’t answer that question. I’m not sure. Somewhere along the way, we must take responsibility for ourselves. When Bill Clinto ended “welfare as we have known it, it forced my lazy sister off state aid and she finally had to look for a job. I have said this before, I feel more at ease when I criticize my own.

        • Governments are responsible to insure that programs they institute are inclusive and representative of the populations they serve. Programs that direct community planning need to acknowledge if a problem exists that causes such programs to fail any particular group, and make changes to policy that remedy such failure.

          Wild Bill’s neoliberal welfare reform may have helped your lazy sister, but it has failed the nation. Particularly the nation’s children. Deep poverty has increased. Mostly because the bulk of TANF funds are used by States for things other than basic assistance to families in need. This results in fewer and fewer families getting necessary assistance. And what little TANF funding that actually gets to needy families is never enough to abate the effects of deep poverty. Especially for children.

          The effects of deep poverty, including homelessness, chronic illness, disability and addiction, and hopelessness, are costing our nation, just in dollars and cents, more than what traditional welfare ever did. And the personal responsibility/nanny state trope exploited to manufacture consent for neoliberal welfare reform has been proven to be a falsehood. As the work done by Housing First advocates across the nation, like Susan, continues to prove, the most cost effective and successful solutions to the effects of deep poverty are always based on simple human compassion.

          • I’d love to see that last sentence embroidered on a flag somewhere and hung in the Capitol. You can even take my name out of it.

            • I think turning a contemporary politician’s head toward effective solutions to deep poverty is much more likely if compassion is left out of the equation altogether. It’s just not in the neoliberal wheelhouse.

              Concentrate on cost effectiveness. Focus on the math. They have enough problems with that. Compassion is just too complicated an issue for most of them. Healthcare reform is a perfect example.

              • I wrote a column for today’s Mother Courant that is almost entirely compassion-based, a kind of “Can’t you see the issue here?” And I walk away from it thinking, “Probably not.” You’re right. Data matters.

  2. And I am compassionate too. But until we address some of the causes of inter-generational poverty, we get nowhere. And I think it is shameful that we only usually address the band aid approach instead of examining the root causes and move forward with solution.
    I am purposely talking in generalities because economics and social planing is not my forte. So there. May your God bless you Susan and leftover, may the witches of Eastwick make your days enjoyable.

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