Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Housing Jerk Around

I received a letter in the mail at TPI yesterday that informed me that I'd been removed from the Fountain Place subsidized housing unit wait list, so after grabbing some stuff shipped to me by a friend (a rain poncho, a second pair of long johns, and a pair of military wool fingerless gloves!) I headed immediately over to find out what the deal was; remember, I was just there a week ago checking in on my wait list status! Not only was I reassured that the letter was something I could completely disregard, he went so far as to say that he'd be able to tell me today how much farther up the wait list recent notices given have propelled me — implying rather strongly that a one-bedroom subsidized unit will be available for me. Which I took to be good news, because I'm sick and tired of living on the streets, now that everyone from all over the country is moving to Portland diminishing our local charities and importing their barbarism and madness and criminality.

Of course the manager told me today that he should know for certain tomorrow, and handed me an application form for me to fill out in the event he bears me tidings both punctual and glad when I return to his office. I'm not counting on either, and in all honesty I feel as though I'm just setting myself up for disappointment bothering with low-income housing wait lists; at any given point between now and the day I walz into a housing unit with a lease agreement a wall can be thrown up in front of me or the rug jerked out from beneath my feet. Hell, I'm expecting at some point for the good people of America and its (not quite) representative government to decide to let the trickle of social services run completely dry, tossing me out on the streets again because the world needs more military hardware to harry its beleaguered people with.

That's what happens when you're not a single mother, an immigrant, a minority, a vet, or disabled. Which wouldn't even be an issue for me if there was a job market for unskilled people like me whose youthful follies have caused us to mature into vinegar instead of wine; also if the cost of living would at least match pace in its increase with proletarian wage increases. How many people will be living on the streets in ten, twenty, or even thirty years? The world of livability is shrinking toward the gilded vertex of the socioeconomic pyramid, and I see it clearly because I was out here while the middle class had only vague apprehensions about its financial future, whining about credit debt and college expenses while still aglow with savings-strategy optimism. In a recent speech Ursula K. Le Guin eloquently expressed contempt for the apparent inexorable might of today's capitalism, but sitting on my loading dock I see it sneering smugly back at her and all the rest of us.

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