Posts Tagged ‘Newark Low Barrier Shelter’

Early Onset Of Collective Amnesia

February 14, 2021

            It has been pointed out by witty pundits that when breaking news, or national news, doesn’t match the Fox network’s outlook, the news conglomerate defers to some totally unrelated story that does, no matter how trivial or absurd. Not reporting the news of the day (or hour) is replaced by something other to occupy the viewer’s interest. This is very reminiscent of a parent’s attempt to assuage a child’s pre-meal hunger with activities in order to occupy their time. A similar deferral is currently being foisted on Newark Ohio. Indeed, this particular form of bait and switch is so ubiquitous that it is taken as normal. The Covid 19 vaccination roll out has been occurring, in Ohio, for quite some time now. Statewide we are told that 1 in 9 have been inoculated. The Licking County Health Department, for some unknown reason, has not been receiving an allotment and stopped their vaccination appointments/inoculations. In its stead, to keep the citizenry occupied, we have received an updated website with all kinds of bells and whistles, but no registry, no online appointment strategy. It is still appointment by phone (with registration to follow appointment confirmation). It is still appointments not being scheduled at the present time. Same cannot be said for LMH, a private hospital, which is still receiving vaccine allotments and scheduling appointments. But that is part of the normal, learned helplessness that Newark residents have been channeled into. Astute readers will recall that years ago the Newark Health Department was eliminated through a merger with the Licking County Health Department. “Greater efficiency and better service” were given as the primary reason for consolidation. It was the same reason given for the unified 911 call center. Ditto for the elimination of public transportation responsibility for its residents by the city of Newark. The demise of the low barrier shelter projected for the defunct Family Dollar building follows the same modus operandi. The deferral of “public” seems to be a particularly GOP characteristic, a party which has dominated city, county and state governance for years; for so long that its privatized outlook has almost become accepted as the norm. Now, with the Covid 19 vaccine, the privatization extends to its distribution (and subsequent deferral). Reliance on the vaccine administration is being shifted to the pharmaceutical monopolies of CVS and Walgreens. Their limited site dominance in the greater Newark area was made possible through buying out local pharmacies (more complicated than that but no space to address). Now they will “lead” in serving the public good. It needn’t be that way. West Virginia’s touted vaccine roll out success is attributed precisely to their abundance of local, non-franchise pharmacies. They, along with other states, register vaccine aspirants and THEN follow up with appointment time calls TO the aspirant, through the Health Department or pharmacy. Privatizing public services, whether health, transportation, housing, safety, education, etc. just doesn’t work and is NOT more efficient. A public service only works if it is always available and accessible to the public. Along with the disappearance of public space, the collective memory of public services is fading fast in Newark Ohio.

Polarity

February 7, 2021

            “We must work on homeless issue” is the title of Newark’s 2ndward council person Jeremy Blake’s response to the 1-8-21 news of the end of low barrier shelter/beginning of another thrift store on East Main St. (guest column Newark Advocate 2-7-21). “I voted along with all of my colleagues on the City Council to spend taxpayer dollars for a consultant to perform work and then provide recommendations on how to end chronic homelessness.” Even though the consultant resigned due to her own finding that the community was not committed to the solution (let alone the problem), Mr. Blake argues that the consultation was but a step in a further process of meetings and conversations. Such a drawn out and extensive “process” never seems to accompany council matters with regard to TIF’s, renovations, redevelopment, development, or even annexation for the sake of development. Indeed, Blake’s approach laser focuses on the homeless aspect without mention of the homefull. Is such a concept possible? Or is it like thinking of night without day, wet without dry, good without bad? Reporting for the NY Times (2-4-21) Stefanos Chen headlines The Down Side to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks. “The nearly 1,400-foot tower at 432 Park Ave., briefly the tallest residential building in the world, was the pinnacle of New York’s luxury condo boom half a decade ago [2016], fueled largely by foreign buyers seeking discretion and big returns. Six years later, residents of the exclusive tower are now at odds with the developers, and each other, making clear that even multimillion-dollar price tags do not guarantee problem-free living.” “The building, a slender tower that critics have likened to a middle finger because of its contentious height, is mostly sold out, with a projected value of $3.1 billion.” “[Sarina] Abramovich and her husband, Mikhail, retired business owners who worked in the oil and gas business, bought a high-floor, 3,500-square-foot apartment at the tower for nearly $17 million in 2016, to have a secondary home near their adult children.” “She’s aware that the plight of billionaires won’t garner much sympathy, but says she is speaking out on principle. “Everything here was camouflage,” she said. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have never bought.”” How many times have we heard that hiring a consultant is the way to solve a problem? Do consultants wear camo? Today’s NY Times provided some PC sympathy. Conor Dougherty headlines Pandemic’s Toll on Housing: Falling Behind, Doubling Up, Eviction moratoriums don’t keep arrears from piling up, and aid to renters may not reach the most vulnerable. (2-6-21) Analysis uncovered these relevant insights: “The nation has a plague of housing instability that was festering long before Covid-19, and the pandemic’s economic toll has only made it worse.” “Even before last year, about 11 million households — one in four U.S. renters — were spending more than half their pretax income on housing, and overcrowding was on the rise. By one estimate, for every 100 very low-income households, only 36 affordable rentals are available.” “Reflecting the broader economy, the pain in the U.S. housing market is most severe at the bottom. Surveys of large landlords whose units tend to be higher quality and more expensive have been remarkably resilient through the pandemic. Surveys of small landlords and low-income tenants show that late fees and debt are piling up.” “But for every million or so households who are evicted in the United States each year, there are many more millions who move out before they miss a payment, who cut back on food and medicine to make rent, who take up informal housing arrangements that exist outside the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. “What happens in housing court will miss most of the people who need help,” said Davin Reed, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. While rents have fallen in many big cities, vacancy rates for the cheapest buildings are essentially flat from last year, according to CoStar Group, a commercial property group. That is: Nothing about Covid-19 has changed the fact that there is a longstanding shortage of affordable housing, so anyone who loses an affordable home will still have a hard time finding a new one.” “It is a world of cash rent and oral agreements that are unstable and easily torn — a big reason that various studies show informal tenants are more likely to become homeless. “People who have places they can be evicted from are better off than those who don’t,” said Marybeth Shinn, a professor at Vanderbilt University who studies homelessness.” But conversations about and “solutions” to the homeless problem are primarily focused on the problem “along the banks of the waterways which travel through the neighborhoods of the second ward that many of our chronic homeless call home.” (Blake) Analysis finds this akin to addressing agricultural weed eradication programs without mentioning how it is we farm in the first place. Newark is not exceptional to anything Dougherty writes about, nor what Chen covers. When speaking of big money west end development no mention is made of those who are couch surfing and doubling, tripling up to find shelter. And in researching a solution to the homeless issue, no word on the quickly acquiesced and subsidized big money developments. Flat earth versus a globe that spins round and comes round, night without day, homeless without homefull, it is obvious where the roots of American polarity spring forth.

Addendum To Denial

January 11, 2021

            In the previous post, Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor (1-8-21), Analysis makes the claim that Kent Mallett’s report (East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter, 1-8-21) was really more about the “growing homeless population” than about the former Family Dollar store recycling into the new St. Vincent’s thrift store. A report by Melody Hahm appearing in Yahoo Finance (who knew?) gives a curious insight without the absurdity of “counting the homeless,” since we know that few will be inclined to self identify as “homeless.” Most are inclined to self identify as middle class, though they are not. So all you “middle class” out there, perk up. Hahm’s report is about you. Entitled “Middle-class homeowners will get ‘priced out permanently’: real estate investor Grant Cardone” it spells out the current road to the American dream paved with, well, Capitalist intentions. “The number of homes for sale reached an all-time low in December, as buyers remained active and eager to buy even during the holiday season.” “But given the low inventory and the quick turnaround of homes, middle class Americans are finding homeownership more inaccessible than ever, according to Grant Cardone, a real estate investor who manages a $1.4 billion portfolio of multifamily properties and also stars in Discovery Network’s (DISCA) reality series, “Undercover Billionaire.” “The middle class are going to get priced out permanently. The great divide will get wider, wealthy people are picking up second and third homes like most people buy Skittles or the way we were buying toilet paper back in March. The average person is not able to grab a house today. After the pandemic, the banks went to 20% down, now they’re doing double and triple checks to see if your future employment is stable,” he said during an interview with Yahoo Finance Live on Friday.” ““It’s going to get more and more difficult for people to buy homes in the lowest interest rate environment we’ve ever had, the middle class will not be able to take advantage of this. This validates the concept which I’ve been pushing… cash is trash and the wealthy are turning cash into real assets,” he added.” That helps shed some light on the current state of housing in Denial, er, Newark Ohio. For those unable to afford the flight to the far west side with its exceptional schools, there is only what remains in the already previously “developed” city. Aspiring homeowners who can’t afford the flight to the west side find themselves in competition with “the wealthy [who] are turning cash into real assets” – rentals. The percentage of rental stock available in Denial, er, Newark increases as a consequence of the flight to the far west side. Newark already has almost half its residential housing as investment property (non owner occupant). If “the banks went to 20% down, now they’re doing double and triple checks to see if your future employment is stable,” then rents themselves will be high. And rentals also demand background checks. No, not that a pandemic is in your background. Rents will be high since the alternative is to compete with the Capitalized landlord. Like the coldest days of winter to be, the flight to the far west side of Denial, er, Newark as a solution to its housing shortage contributes to a “growing homeless population” as a consequence.

What Kind Of Planet Are They Living On?

December 17, 2020

            The news of the past week seems to be supported by an undertow of statistics. A blur of staggering numbers appear to back everything up, whether it be Covid 19 rates, unemployment, potential relief funding, hunger, future evictions as well as current homelessness, etc. Not only that but Wall Street keeps climbing on the enormous debt and the potential for even more debt coming down the pike. Traditionally this would anticipate hefty Holiday Bonuses for traders and brokers. Will it be that way this year? Bucking a trend of traditional and inevitable thinking/reasoning seems to be an unpleasant necessity for regular folks, but is unimaginable for Newark area community leaders. Even a morbid change like the pandemic makes no impression. It used to be called “business as usual”, but what is the usual today? In Newark, Ohio, Kent Mallett’s report, headlined Licking County Courthouse windows to be replaced in 2021; cost at least $1.25 million (12-16-20, Newark Advocate), covers the exceptionally unimaginative. “Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb said the project won’t be cheap, nor quick, but the time is right.” According to Mallett, Bubb says “”We want historically-looking windows with 21st Century technology. That’s going to be the challenge. It’s a process like a custom remodel. We’re putting it in there for the next half century.”” For this the commissioners are putting the residents of Licking County in deeper debt? Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the former Family Dollar store building, promised as a low barrier shelter and just blocks from the already twice remodeled Court House, sits cold, empty and vacant. Lines at food pantries are longer, including some “first timers” who not long ago volunteered at them. And… well, Analysis points to the above for the dizzying array of shared lack backed up by a passel of numbers all representing real situations or people. A rather bleak winter is upon us. But Tim Bubb and his fellow successful Republican leaders must dwell in the eternal sunshine of a bright tomorrow. ““We’re putting it in there for the next half century.”” The debt based capital investment that they are putting “in there”, the Halls of Justice, assumes there will be a “human resource” around to benefit. With no investment in this resource, what kind of “next half century” are they envisioning? One with pristine “historically-looking” buildings and people living in tents? What kind of planet are they living on?