Monday, December 24, 2007

New Orleans :Tossing out The Poor and the Meaning of Christmas

ah yes it is Christmas and I wonder if Christians truly believed and put into practice the words of Jesus as in the Sermon on the mount then maybe I too would call myself a Christian . But how many actually do. It seems many Christians are endlessly fighting amongst themselves splitting hairs ,parsing words and phrases. They argue whether it is by faith alone or grace that one is saved . Is it by workrs alone that one is saved. Is one save by a combination of faith and works .Some might argue that one is saved by baptism alone . To be saved does one have to take part in the Eucharist and confession . Can one be saved through the Eucharist alone . Can one be saved by Confession alone. Is the path of the Christian to love everyone even those who are not Christian or only fellow Christians or just fellow Baptists or Catholics or Presbyterians . Is all of humankind destined for the torments of Hell except for a predestined elect etc.

So how then should the weak , the meek and the poor be treated in a supposedly Christian nation.
Should Christians merely feel bad for the poor . Should Christians feed and clothe the poor . Should Christians fight for public policies to create long term solutions to poverty. Should Christians only help those willing to help themselves. Should Christians help those in need without any hesitation like the Good Samaritan

From these thoughts at Christmas we turn to those still stuggling in places like New Orleans.

Anyway here 's an update on the situation in New Orleans Post-Katrina . The struggle continues as those in power use the disaster to promote their own agenda. And what is their agenda. To create a New Orleans rid of its excess population . This includes the lower classes including the working poor and the poorest of the poor . By getting rid of public housing projects the land can be used for development for homes for a so called mixed income neighborhood. Such a neighborhood would have a smaller population with a smaller percentage of lower income residents. The members of this new neighborhood could be checked out so that they are of the right sort. They could be approved of by the city and the developers. The corporations involved in the new development and investment would finally have a say about who should be permitted to live in particular areas of New Orleans. As for those who cannot afford to buy these new houses or condos or over-priced apartments can always live in the streets until the city finally expels them . And where will those expelled live.

Ah well the government and the corporations may set up low income trailer parks or housing projects far from the city limits . Eventually all the poor could be extracted from Suburbia and from the city centres. This way they will be out of sight and out of mind . The very sight of these lower class leeches would no longer need disturb those who are more successful . One wonders if this is part of the Neoconservative agenda and dream of their New World Order. The creation of a different kind of Ghetto to place the unwanted , the unwashed , the disenfranchised . Maybe when needed the people in these new Ghettoes would be given permits to enter certain parts of the cities . They would be restricted in their ability to travel. They would no be permitted in certain parts of the city after certain hours by means of a curfew and maybe the gates locked at night . Imagine they have to go through a series of roadblocks on their way to and from work or going shopping or visiting frriends . Sort of like the Palestinians in the occupied territories . snaking their way to work though a dozen checkpoints . And they call that freedom and mutual respect So imagine this is what the United States Canada and Britain might look like .

Battle for New Orleans Public Housing
Keeping the poor out


Tent City in Suburbs Is Cost of Home Crisis By Dana Ford Reuters Thursday 20 December 2007

Between railroad tracks and beneath the roar of departing planes sits "tent city," a terminus for homeless people. It is not, as might be expected, in a blighted city center, but in the once-booming suburbia of Southern California.

The noisy, dusty camp sprang up in July with 20 residents and now numbers 200 people, including several children, growing as this region east of Los Angeles has been hit by the U.S. housing crisis.

The unraveling of the region known as the Inland Empire reads like a 21st century version of "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's novel about families driven from their lands by the Great Depression.

As more families throw in the towel and head to foreclosure here and across the nation, the social costs of collapse are adding up in the form of higher rates of homelessness, crime and even disease.

While no current residents claim to be victims of foreclosure, all agree that tent city is a symptom of the wider economic downturn. And it's just a matter of time before foreclosed families end up at tent city, local housing experts say.

"They don't hit the streets immediately," said activist Jane Mercer. Most families can find transitional housing in a motel or with friends before turning to charity or the streets. "They only hit tent city when they really bottom out."

"Squatting in Vacant Houses"

Nationally, foreclosures are at an all-time high. Filings are up nearly 100 percent from a year ago, according to the data firm RealtyTrac. Officials say that as many as half a million people could lose their homes as adjustable mortgage rates rise over the next two years.

California ranks second in the nation for foreclosure filings - one per 88 households last quarter. Within California, San Bernardino county in the Inland Empire is worse - one filing for every 43 households, according to RealtyTrac.

Maryanne Hernandez bought her dream house in San Bernardino in 2003 and now risks losing it after falling four months behind on mortgage payments.

"It's not just us. It's all over," said Hernandez, who lives in a neighborhood where most families are struggling to meet payments and many have lost their homes.

She has noticed an increase in crime since the foreclosures started. Her house was robbed, her kids' bikes were stolen and she worries about what type of message empty houses send.

The pattern is cropping up in communities across the country, like Cleveland, Ohio, where Mark Wiseman, director of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program, said there are entire blocks of homes in Cleveland where 60 or 70 percent of houses are boarded up.

take care,

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