What do you know about government “charity” from the ground level? By charity we do not mean corporate bailouts or subsidies; we mean the social support programs the Democrats have waved as their so-called kindess doctrine for decades. Do these programs actually help your neighbor, the single parent or your grandmother when she finds herself with little or no pension or nest egg from the deceased husband?
In an article on Common Dreams titled, “Is That a White House Advisor in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Helping Him Fleeece Me” there is an accurate description of what subsidized housing looks like from the bottom up. The article itself is focused on Jared Kushner, real estate developer and Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development’s $31, 000.00 dining/conference table. The author, Pat LaMarche describes herself as an activist first and mentions publishing in her bio. Fair enough.
If one strips out the names and dubious consideration of the table, what is left in the article describes some of the major points in the “terms and conditions” you Mr. & Mrs. American Taxpayer as subsidiser of your neighbor, hired your Congressmen to write for you and your neighbor. Did you realize your neighbor cannot by law, have cash assets that equal the value of one year’s living expenses available to them in order to qualify for any government housing? What might that figure look like?
First we should look at market value for rent rates. Market value is a very subjective term; essentially it means what the market is willing to pay to rent in any given local. One neighborhood might sustain a market value of $600-ish dollars per month for a one bedroom, without any utilities except perhaps water/sewer included. Another neighborhood would sustain a market value of $800-ish dollars for the exact same apartment layout with the exact same features three blocks away.
Rent subsidies by law should equal the recommended 33% of total household income. What that means is if your total household income is 1000.00 per month, your rent should be at best $333.00 per month with or without any utilities included. If you are trying to find a building or landlord who by law is certified to accept HUD rent subsidies, your choices of where to live just went down by a massive percentage and the competition for those units just skyrocketed. Most landlords do not have the time or man hours to fill out the reams of paperwork necessary to qualify for subsidized housing status with the federal, state and local governments. Yes, all three or four in some cases; federal, state, county and city or township. Management companies do because their aggregated property management fees to building owners cover the cost of cross-checking all the documents required on both the landlord’s side and the prospective tenent’s side. Think we are in the weeds, yet? Not by a longshot.
Back to the tenet side of things. In order to qualify for subsidized housing and regulations differ in various locations based on a complex formula of state and local requirements, your income in most cases, cannot exceed poverty level regardless of status as working or unemployed. In fact as the article points out, maximum income is much less than federal poverty level. Look at that figure again; after taxes & social security your net is around $825.00 rent $443.00 + gas/electric $50.00 + phone of some type $60.00 totals $553.00 per month averaged, not including seasonal heating and cooling fluctuations.
In the case of Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) your cash savings cannot exceed $2,000.00 annually. Remember that $1000.00 per month figure we pulled out of the air? If you are on SSDI, the minimum monthly is somewhere around $750.00 per month not $1,000.00. So adjusting rent down; $750.00-247.00= $503.00 per month to cover food, transportation of some sort, utilities and phone plus whatever else is necessary to sustain on a monthly basis without any emergencies whatsoever because at this narrow margin you cannot afford to sprain your ankle.
What does this have to do with the $2,000.00 in reserve mentioned above? $2,000.00 (your allowed annual savings) divided by your rent+utilities+phone ($393.00) equals 5 months of sustainability before you run out of money should your SSDI be cut off for any reason and there are many. If we factor in eating at $75.00 per week (including toilet paper, laundry etc), your available emergency fund covers 2.9 months. Should you also be evicted for non-payment of rent at the end of your 2.9 months, you are now in the hole -$370.5 plus court costs because it takes about six weeks to get through the eviction process at bare minimum.
So you have to start fresh. The eviction, if you let it get that far bars you from rent subsidized housing for much longer than it will take for you to recover from this set of circumstances. The almost manageable budget for rent just went out the window and you are back to that market value rental rate above. So, you need $600.00 first month’s rent + $600.00 security deposit = $1,200.00 to rent a new apartment. Add the $370.50 (plus court costs) = $1,570.50. Let’s pick another figure out of the air for court costs because at this point, what is another 35-75 dollars? Your whopping total to start over, assuming you fed yourself is -$1,905.50. Which you most certainly do not have at this point. No, we did not factor in your medical costs, or moving your stuff, assuming you are physically capable of packing it. Nor did we factor your utility + phone assuming you did not shut them off on day 1 of eviction notice. Why would you, if you needed to find a new place?
If anything goes wrong and dear reader, perhaps you can see what does go wrong; you are homeless.
The recovery time from homelessness, without any financial assistance from anyone is between 6 months and three years assuming you are capable of working some sort of job at least 35 hours per week, can find one and can mentally and emotionally sustain the rigors of living in a shelter while doing so.
What does your faith practice, your God, your moral compass tell you to do for one of these family members, neighbors or congregation members?
Post Script: Before you tell us our math is wrong, there is $150.00 remainder in our last example or our numbers are wrong for whatever reason, pull back and look at the bigger picture. What do you spend per month? Do you drive a car and have to insure it? Do you spend more or less on food, do you go to a laundry mat or have some type of laundry facility available and how does that impact your utility bill? Our numbers are admittedly a little rubbery from a cost standpoint but the SSDI numbers are almost spot-on for minimum income and dead-on for total annual assets. No, SSDI recipients do not get food stamps.
- Is That a White House Advisor in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Helping Him Fleece Me – Common Dreams Sunday, March 25, 2018