Sunday, March 29, 2020

A New Housing Crisis

If you are rich bitch (Comedy Central ran a marathon of Chappell Show) you will have no problem having a roof over your head, most likely two in fact to retreat to and shelter in place away from the great unwashed.  And now that I use that expression I realize that there is some truth in that as until this pandemic hit I had no idea how unsanitary and unclean people were with regards to personal hygiene.   I knew that teaching public schools with kids but seriously all kids are annoying and are little walking germs so I when they wanted to hug (really annoying), shake hands (the most fakes of  adult interactions) or were picking their noses, endless need to touch each other I used to remind them that how I make a living as a Substitute was through sickness and that as a result I need to not get sick so stay away, use a tissue and quit touching shit.  And frankly I often after classes would get out the bleach wipes and wipe everything down as many rooms looked like Banksy had swung by and did a graffiti class.   And that behavior became essential when Seattle was hit by Whooping Cough which I contracted and later Measles which I paid significant money to get a booster shot at age 52.  I learned early on that I was not exceptional I was just lucky.

And to think this idea of homeschooling for the next three months is going to keep your kid on track and on grade level. Well again the rich have Tutors, access to internet and to varying methods of access and availability to do so but the poor, not so much.   And I wonder with the extensive teaching shortage across the country and now this what it means when schools resume whenever what that will be like.  It ain't gonna be good.

In my former city of residence, Nashville, has two housing crisis - the one from the Tornado -  other from an insatiable desire to build "luxury" apartments and housing for the lowly paid hospitality workers who are now unemployed.  The endless announcements by the City of the varying businesses locating there will abate because again this pandemic will have them reassess their needs and costs and some will go there as it is cheaper than a major urban center but it is also a city where the infrastructure is seriously in trouble and was pre-tornado, that the city budget in trouble pre tornado will be for certain with the lack of tax dollars from the hospitality trade their largest contributor to the city coffers.   I certainly am glad to be gone and sure as fuck would not move there post pandemic until of course more tax incentives and other bribes were thrown in my direction so expect that to happen across the country as ways to show how they survived the great Pandemic of 2020.

The last four months I have traveled extensively between Nashville and Jersey City on planes and in turn through airports, stayed at varying Air BnB which cleanliness thrives on you and you have to buy all the tools  to do that, so hence my storage unit with my own towels, linens, cleaning supplies and booze and other "essentials" for my camp down.  And I could do that as I had that scheduled, planned and organized.  THANK THE SPIRIT DADDY!   The last three days I sprung for a hotel, had disposed of all the "essentials" and then three days later literally it barely survived the tornado that wracked the city.   Again just luck. But this is how you survive when you can afford to and most cannot as we are now realizing the economy was booming just not across the board that much is clear.  And it exposed the medical field as how little prepared they were for any massive crisis despite the endless ones that have passed by the last decade that should have served as a warning.

That said again the gold coasts of East and West will survive there will be some bleed off as they reassess their needs for large corporate offices, the supposed deaths of their staff (I want to meet someone who can name three people they knew and knew well who died or was in hosptial and given that I live in ground zero I should expect to and yet I don't think so, I shall see) and of course the bottom line of profits and meeting Wall Street's expectations for a rebound.

The rich have many options and even in hard hit cities such as New York (well until Friday) luxury construction continued yet meanwhile the endless reminder that hospitals had no space available, they were converting parking lots, empty malls and convention centers into field hospitals for the onslaught.  Gosh they could move into the luxury apartments that are vacant? Couldn't they? And in San Francisco where the entire city is shut down except housing construction. Are they going to get that marble from Italy still, I mean well you know.....I hope they fill their wine cellars with a good Barbaresco they will be prime collectors ones soon, very soon **wink wink** And the same goes in Europe as the wealthy flee to their estates, villas and country homes bringing with them anger, rage and likely the virus.  I am finally starting to get why the designer houses boarded their windows, shit I could use a nice pair of Choos to go with my looted Gucci bag.

And of course this migratory bird pattern is not confined to the rich but it does cross a line of usually white well off professional couples who are of course liberal, intellectual, quasi hippies and the like who buy some cabin as a way of preserving nature and all that they go to a week a year and think they are living off the grid.  I met many in Seattle who were fascinated that growing up there going to Yakima was a pain in the ass and that I had never hiked or skied in my life.  I had tried both and that was that.  That was almost the flag and tag that you were an "outsider" as no one I knew growing up did that as it cost money and shit and I grew up working class so luxury to us was going out to eat at the steak house and pay for my education with cash not a loan.  Ah different times.

And what the fuck is everyone with compromised immune systems? What does that mean? You smoked? You had cancer or another illness that does that? Really you did? How do you hike/bike and live in an urban center with air pollution off the grid.  And yet you have a car drive across the street and refuse to vest into public transportation which if you did it could be less crowded, better maintained and safe. Well no I can drive my car with my face mask on, its all good.  Hey guess what again another sign that maybe density and urban dwelling is a shitty idea as the air and water quality sucks.  Just ask Newark and they have not one, not two but three hot zones for the Corvid virus!  And shitty water too.  Love that Florida is worried about New Yorkers.

But I do think that there will be a re-examination of living in urban settings by the older crowd and by families and that in turn will address some of the issues of dying small townships, small tier cities like Nashville or Cleveland that can provide some of the cultural opportunities (for the record Cleveland could easily step up to that today) and the distance one needs to have space for living.  Suburbs not as bad anymore right?

 ***Funny Pittsburgh which is a cool place seems to have endless problems making me sad as I had originally thought of going there over Nashville, guess that worked out!  But still it and Cleveland are below the top of the list cities to go.. LA, Seattle, Bay Area.  JC not on the list - BINGO! Well we have Corvid. SHIT!***

But the rich will continue as again the Real Estate market is always pivoting to meet the needs of buyers and sellers and make commissions for largely doing nothing but opening a door but hey whatever.  And for the record I saw on Million Dollar Listing, Ryan,  show a house with a robot, he was ahead of the curve there.   Now if they could get a Robot to replace everyone else on that show other than Ryan I would watch it.

But when we finally go into Martial Law we can turn into Stasi Agents and report on our neighbors through the NextDoor app and make sure they are recycling waste, not leaving unless essential and what they are or are not wearing. Tattling annoys the fuck out of me and was one of my other pet peeves about children when teaching but again I miss the little fuckers.  But hey you mirror your dipshit parents and gosh who would have thunk that simple disposable gloves and masks could do some good and if you wore them then I could go shopping normally rather than standing outside a bakery taking a photo of the options and calling in my order.  Oh wait I am not doing that. Sorry you lost my business unless there is no one there and I am just standing outside bored which is normal at this point.. I am really really bored of this all.

Now the last thought on today's rant is rent.  There is little in place to protect renters and some cities/states are halting evictions but that is also because they have few municipal workers in place to enact and enforce the process and in turn who is going to show, rent and pay for the endless fees here to rent a place. Remember those Real Estate brokers?  Well they charge a months rent as a fee, then you have the month and half security deposit and in turn a months rent making even a 2000 dollar unit a month up front cost 7000 dollars, not including moving costs and other extraneous costs from utilities and the rest to hook up service.  Here a couple had to move out a day early as the moving company could not secure enough workers for another day given what is happening and in turn a huge push by many who are in process of trying to move out before month's end and paying rent.

In New York and New Jersey there is the 90 day Moratorium which again confirms what I have been saying that this is to run through June but then what? Before the virus took hold there was a migration pattern already establishing as many were looking to move out of large urban dwellings as housing prices had become a major issue but now we have issues such as natural disasters and the pandemic which all happened after that report came out. The irony that the Census is now taking place should also be interesting as it will not be fully clear as to where people are living and this too may need an extension to fully examine the affects of this pandemic on migration.

But the federal plans don’t cover more than 40 million renters, many of whom, housing advocates worry, may not be able to pay their rent next month.

As renters and homeowners grapple with mass layoffs and business closures, housing advocates, the mortgage industry and banks are growing increasingly concerned that the country will soon face a housing crisis that will rival the one that helped nearly take down the economy a decade ago. 
This time, rather than mortgage delinquencies growing over time, it could spike suddenly as people suddenly find themselves without a job, said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
 Without a federal plan, renters face a patchwork of approaches. The Los Angeles City Council this week approved an emergency plan to temporarily halt evictions and create a citywide rental assistance fund. In Oregon, Home Forward, which provides affordable housing throughout the state, is offering renters affected by the coronavirus outbreak a rental break until May 31. The renters will be able to repay their skipped payments over 12 months, according to Home Forward. In Mountain View, Calif., the City Council has approved $500,000 renter assistance program for people affected by the coronavirus.

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