•   almost 7 years ago

Project App seems to encourage homelessness, not prevent it

Wouldn't it make more sense to include apps that prevented people from being displaced from their homes, rather than simply helped them find a bed for a night, afterward? It's also deceptive to imply that resources always exist for the homeless as many cities services are stretched thin at best. Wouldn't it make more sense to prevent the processes that render many people homeless, such as unchecked condominium conversion of existing affordable housing, foreclosures, or gentrification?

  • 1 comment

  •   •   almost 7 years ago

    Let me give a specific example, an eviction-prevention app. Which can be a web app, its not platform specific. And shouldn't be.
    Often landlords want to clear a building of long term tenants when the economy improves. A few years ago, my wife and I were living in an affordable flat ($1300 a month) in a large west coast city, but our apartment building had a serious mold problem that was making me very ill. I complained many times to our landlord, but they just laughed in our face. Clearly, they wanted us (all) to move, so they were not interested in fixing anything, they wanted us to leave, because we were paying less than they could get from newer tenants because of rent control. (we lived in a city that pegged allowable rent increases to the housing CPI) We complained to the city, and indeed, the building was found to have many, many violations, so the building was written up as a hazard. But then, of course, the landlord used that as an excuse to evict us "temporarily" which ended up being for over a year. (which meant we had to move, because we could not afford a hotel at $200/night) additionally, this time would not lead to the mold being removed! as they made it clear that they would not be held to task for any specific repairs that would be done in that time. Since mold is not recognized as a hazard, and even if it was, there was no officially sanctioned means by which its removal could be verified, mold became a way they could get us out of our apartment (which is now on the market as a condo for a cool $1M) My guess is that now that the economy is warming up again and gas prices are rising millions of people living in newly more desirable (for commuters) urban areas will lose their affordable rentals. There may be no affordable place nearby for them to move so in those cases, they will also lose their jobs and pensions. If there had been a way we could have gotten legal help this would not have been able to happen and make us effectively homeless, (luckily we had somewhere to go, although it was 3000 miles away, many people would not have anywhere to go in that situation.) One way to prevent what happened to us might be to create an app designed to make evictions more difficult for landlords by making it more difficult for them to use legal loopholes to harass working people. Because working people's daytime schedules are fairly inflexible and they must be able to get a good nights sleep, that makes them vulnerable to landlord harassment. You can see some ways that tenants are harassed out of homes here: http://citistop.org/

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