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This Is An Argumentative Essay About The Housing Crisis In Santa Cruz. Poverty In Paradise

1263 words - 5 pages

Poverty in ParadiseByPatricia HallT-TH9:30 - 11:00October 10, 2002Santa Cruz: We have the beach, the Boardwalk, breathtaking redwood forests and our own University. Such luxuries seldom come without a price, and we pay for it in housing. The Santa Cruz housing market is one of the least affordable in the nation, and since the rent increased by a whopping 30% last year, it's not surprising to find that low income workers are packing their bags because they can't pay their rent.So what about the middle class? They should be getting by just fine. That's what middle class is, isn't it? As it turns out, median income households lack the income necessary for owning a house, condo, or even a mobile home. People are evicted from their home everyday. What we fail to realize is that these people are our firefighters, teachers, construction workers, and bus drivers. Even police officers are becoming a rare breed in this town because they move away once they learn they cannot afford to live here. Businesses and services are now undergoing difficulty in hiring people who would usually hold these jobs; horrifying, because these positions are very important to the community.Lower-income, working Americans and those on fixed incomes are crowding into even smaller spaces than ever before. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's America's Growing Wage-Rent Disparity, a person earning minimum wage ($6.75) must slave away at their job for at least 145 hours a week to come home to a poorly maintained, two-bedroom apartment. What I don't understand is why such a wealthy, beautiful, presumably liberal town like Santa Cruz must insist on charging their inhabitants ridiculous prices for less than substantial homes.My friend, Kelli, moved here over a year ago and has already been evicted from one residence. She now lives on Ocean Street along with her high-school friend, Dan. The two of them pay $900 dollars a month for a one-bedroom apartment on Ocean Street, notorious for its traffic, drug users, and violence. There is evidence that Kelli's "room" was initially intended by the carpenters to serve as the living room. This is where she puts her mattress on the floor. The carpet is worn out, the toilet is always overflowing, the neighbors are noisy, and there isn't even room in her kitchen for a table made by Playskool. Does this sound like a place worth spending $900 a month on? Luckily, Dan and her split the cost, but with Kelli making minimum wage, that's almost her entire paycheck. Spending your whole paycheck on housing is ridiculous while other expenses such as food, utilities, taxes, etceteras still need to be attended to. Increasing numbers of people, like Kelli, are left with no choice but to move out of town. While some of them find more affordable housing elsewhere, good majorities become members of our ever-growing homeless community.Contrary to popular belief, the homeless people in Santa Cruz don't come from "a land far, far away." According...

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