When did our confident, friendly and outgoing country morph into one of suspicion and fear? We used to engage with people on the street or the bus but now, wearing ear buds and absorbed by phones that aren’t all that smart, this has become an intrusion. Updating our social supports to sustain the way we live today in our dramatically changed, more hostile world is our urgent task.
Where we live and with whom; what we eat, where it comes from and who cooks it; who looks after the children and the elderly are all up for scrutiny. We need to evaluate everything in the light of our physical and emotional fragility, and that of our beautiful, interconnected planet.
Re-Claiming Our Optimistic Confidence
Let’s start with the foundation: housing. The U.S. Census Bureau’s America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012 reports that in 1970, 81 percent of households were families and that number dropped to 66 percent in 2012. Single person households increased from 17 percent in 1970 to 27 percent in 2012.
The Pew Charitable Trust report, Growing Number of People Living Solo Can Pose Challenges, shows that men living alone are more vulnerable to the “dangerous side effects of the single life, like social isolation that can lead to health risks and a higher mortality rate.”
The National Center for Children in Poverty’s (NCCP) website reports that 16 million children (22 percent) live in households below the federal poverty rate.
For millions, it falls woefully short of a good life. Living solo goes against the very grain of human nature, developed over countless millennium.
New Community Vision is working to meet our housing and social needs by providing opportunities for people interested in home sharing to live in shared rental homes with kindred spirits. Partnering with religious and community organizations and the real estate community, we will create opportunities for people to find their tribe.
We propose to manage shared homes and vet, check, and vouch for our tenants to reduce landlord’s risk and hassle. We are piloting this project in the Chicago Metropolitan area and, thereby, creating a template that can be adapted for use anywhere in the country.