Category Archives: link

(1214) Bagels & Bentleys: undercover with the temps


Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle meets Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in today’s Toronto Star. The paper sent a writer to work at a large industrial bakery in Toronto recently.  Her findings should shock us.
Wages are low.  The pace is fast.  Safety is a hit-and-miss affair in a profitable establishment making bread products for corporate clients.  There has been loss of life at the plant where most of the workers are female newcomers.  Their employer has received grants, loans and praise from the government.  The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board gives them rebates.  Through their lawyer the owners say that safety is important.
Temps pick their wages up in cash at a payday lending office thirty-five minutes away by bus.  Their employer drives a Bentley and lives in a mansion.
On Twitter alone, mentions of this feature have grown steadily all day.  This feature deserves a wide audience and is exactly the kind of reportage the Star should be coming up with.
Undercover in temp nation

(1213) CNU report highlights transportation woes for suburban poor

Congress for the New Urbanism has produced a report on the spatial hardship of living in sprawl.  Lower income people often find themselves pushed outward to places where transportation drains their resources when it comes to community participation, shopping, access to employment or public services.  CNU should be commended for adding greater depth to their general critique of placemaking with this document.  Seattle/Tacoma is the focus of the report but it’s general assumptions are applicable beyond there.
Why we should take suburban poverty seriously
cnu.org
image: Joe A Kunzler via Flickr/CC

(1212) Houston’s socioeconomic disaster


Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005.  Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier.  If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
Poor Texans are going to suffer the most in Harvey, thanks to state politics
(video 1:22)
Media largely blind to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor Communities.” Hurricanes don’t care if you’re rich, poor, white, or black—but that doesn’t mean that every person is equally vulnerable to a storm.”
commondreams.org
Houston’s human catastrophe started long before the Storm. Decades of neglect, inequality, and disenfranchisement mean that all Houstonians, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have been left utterly undefended
thenation.org
Consider how inappropriate regional development makes Houston so vulnerable.
Hurricane Harvey wrecks up to a million cars in car dependent Houston
wired.com
More zoning wouldn’t have protected Houston from Harvey’s fury but less sprawl would have
nymag.com
Houston must plan an inclusive recovery after Harvey flooded its public housing
urban.org
Harvey tests the limits of how we feed people during disasters
citylab.com
See also: (1207) Hurricane Harvey
image: screenshot of newsreel from Texas Archives holdings

(1210) Survivors in poverty


We went looking around online for articles about natural disasters and poverty, specifically Hurricane Harvey, earlier this week.  A couple of strong feature articles appeared in due course.  Yet, we were unexpectedly distracted and found a rather poignant feeling was created by a piece on  survivors of a different kind of horror and disaster.
Survivors of the Holocaust have called Toronto home since immediately after World War II.  Now, in the final years of their lives, it emerges that many have lived in poverty.  Truncated family connections, disrupted life courses, multiple migrations, language difficulties and emotional problems seem to have exerted themselves to the detriment of Holocaust survivors.  The Toronto Star took a look at their situation this month in the item below.
Surviving again: how needy Holocaust survivors cope with poverty. A quarter of Canada’s Holocaust survivor population lives in poverty
thestar.com

(1208) Housing repair money


Housing has been an issue in Peel Region, this blog’s home ground, for decades.  Waiting lists are long and there are issues with building condition.  Money from the province of Ontario is no doubt going to be welcome.  This article raises the question of distribution as Toronto appears to have been allocated much of the anticipated funding, with Peel and other places less firmly mentioned.  Peel Living, a social housing provider, is the Greater Toronto Area’s number three housing agency.
No mention of Peel Region’s share in Ontario social housing funding pledge. Half of $657 million going to Toronto
bramptonguardian.com

(1207) Hurricane Harvey


Climate change meets sprawl at the synthetic water line along the Gulf of Mexico.  Perilous developments these days for the Houston Ship Channel and places like Rockport, Texas, seen in an image above from a Google Maps screen shot. Turning away from the spectacle of Hurricane Harvey’s wet trek into Texas is just about impossible.
A changing world asks questions about the way we build communities and operate their economies.  America’s fourth largest city is also a source of the fossil fuels that helped make sprawl and climate change possible.  Business as usual this time next year?
Boom town, flood town. Climate change will bring more frequent and fierce rainstorms to cities like Houston. But unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone
texastribune.org
Hurricane Harvey poised to impact blacks in Texas, but no one is talking about it
dailykos.com
Hell and high water
propublica.org – this is a map/graphics rich feature from March 2016
See also:
(1067) Climate change pushes American public housing tenants

(1206) Millennials living tight


A seven times Pulitzer prize winning media outlet with a mandate rooted in Christian values ought to have a less shallow take on young people living in motor vehicles, no?
Or, is that asking too much?  We get it, that people can live in something other than a detached house for a stretch, that life is an adventure and a little creativity can maybe go a long way.  Odd circumstances are not necessarily a sign harm is being done.  But, this piece is, well, read it for yourself and trust your instincts.
Why it’s becoming cool to live in your car – or a 150-sq. ft. apartment. High housing costs have prompted some in the middle and upper classes to rethink what they value – and be willing to give up the rest
csmonitor.com
See also:
(103) A man’s home is his castle …and frequently also his shitbox!