Unemployment, Foreclosure, Homelessness

The unemployment numbers due out are projected to top 10%.  A report on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning notes that if you factor in the underemployed (those working part time but who wish to work full time) and those that have just given up looking for work, the real number nationally is closer to 16 percent.  In some parts of the country, it’s more like 20% percent.

Couple this high unemployment rate with the disaster in the housing market, and you have a prescription for increased homelessness.  The National Coalition for the Homeless produced a report [.pdf] a few months ago detailing the situation, and the New York Times published a long piece on the plight of one of those affected.

Not all are convinced that foreclosures are the main reason for homelessness—even in cases where that is exactly what is being claimed.  Daniel Indiviglio remains skeptical. See his recent piece for the Atlantic’s Business Channel.  Note especially what he has to say about the impact of foreclosure on renters and the role of personal responsibility.  Even the Time’s piece shows that its subject did make some poor financial choices.

Also, we need to continue the discussion of whether home ownership ought to be the goal of everyone.  Why not rent?  Here’s an article [.pdf] about renting in a nation of owners.  Timothy Noah mulled it over in Slate ten years ago (here and here), but the questions remain.

It is tough for a worker to demand equity at a job if that worker is bound to a mortgage and cannot afford to lose that job.

Of course, we’re back to the question of how to find a job these days in the first place.

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