Expensive housing, low wages – paradoxical conundrum

Housing development that needs love, landscaping, and a garden
Liberty Square Housing Project, Miami

Expensive housing and low wages, a paradoxical conundrum, needs a fresh approach. Thinking out of the box and re-arranging the pieces could be a win/win.

Just as plants thrive in shade or sun, people are naturally inclined for a particular environment and it might not be where they live.

Leaving the urban frenzy for the quiet of a small town where you can hear yourself think and see stars at night might be the environment in which some people thrive. For others, the diverse city bustle could be a lifeline.

An abundant supply of housing exists in rusted industrial cities and small towns that have been left behind and where jobs nobody even wants are scarce. Much of it needs attention, elbow grease, and repair but home owners may lack the money, skills, tools, or just plain oomph to tackle the work.

Bridging the rural/urban divide

Couchsurfing is an economical way to check out a new area. Similar to AirBnB but free, Couchsurfing is an online platform that enables people to open up their homes to others for an overnight, a weekend, a week, or more. It is an easy and inexpensive way to check out locations that might call to you. Registering and collecting references ensures safety. Every year couchsurfing has 400,000 hosts, 4 million surfers, and 100,000 social events.

Experiencing a different culture could potentially bridge the urban/rural divide by meeting and talking with people who have different views and values.

Curiously, a person’s most valuable skills are often beyond financial compensation. Since many jobs no longer provide a living wage, much less benefits, low wage jobs aren’t a good solution and money does not adequately compensate for the value of the effort. Bartering skills and resources could enrich everyone. These resources exist in every community.

  • Many homes have space for a garden but some homeowners may not have the interest, skill, or good health to plant and maintain one. Many passionate would-be gardeners don’t have access to one. If those who have space partner with those who have skill and interest, everyone eats better.
  • Some people like to cook. Others hate to but don’t mind cleaning up.
  • Teenagers understand the digital world while many clueless adults would appreciate someone just getting the darned thing to work and then coaching them.
  • Some people are exceptional with children. Parents who are inexperienced, overwhelmed, working and exhausted need a break. Tragically, some just aren’t very interested.
  • Some handy men or women would appreciate living in a home that they could work on and where home cooking is the norm.

If this interests you, please e-mail terry@newcommunityvision.coop.  As always, sign up for my newsletter, Dispatch From a Possible Future and like our Facebook page. If this post resonates with you, please comment. We love your comments, as do Google and Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Expensive housing, low wages – paradoxical conundrum

  1. Another great post Terry! I don’t have much to add. In brief — I agree that there are many cases where people could form good symbiotic relationships of helping each other out – where one has the skills/resources the other needs, and visa versa.

  2. The conundrum will never be solved until the federal government (and the states) don’t start consider two solutions which the Trump administration move us further away from. 1) governments’ return to direct subsidies for the building of affordable housing (providing better paying jobs, as well, and including housing cooperatives as done in the 1960s.) 2) taking into consideration that substantial job loss and lower paying jobs has been due to robotics taking over with an increase in it with improvements in artificial intelligence, Robert Reich’s proposal for a government provided minimum subsistence income for all adults, which will permit persons to pursue creative careers or to take what jobs are available if they qualify.

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