Your Next $7,000 a Month Home

House for Rent on Trulia

It’s no secret that both millennials and Generation Z have been looking forward to the housing market going down, with some even openly hoping that it crashes outright. That or the lottery may be their only chance of owning a home.

High cost of home ownership, construction costs, and increasing rental prices in the United States, and around the world, are leading to disastrous consequences, with some in Germany worrying revolution is around the corner. As of 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were over 17 million homes available, yet over 600,000 homeless.

In Malibu, California, 3-bedroom rentals can go for more than $5,000 a month. But that’s Malibu. Surely, it can’t be like that here in New Orleans? Except it is.

On Martin Luther King Blvd, in the Central City section of New Orleans, we now have people trying to squeeze $7,000 a month out of a 4-bedroom house. Why? What makes this apartment worth $7,000 a month? It can’t just be the Netflix that’s included.

The median income for a New Orleans household according to the U.S. Census Bureau is $41,000.

So, yes, it’s an absurd amount. Yet, charging this kind of money isn’t all that unusual. If you’re at an AirBnB, Vrbo, or Hosteeva, as this rental is, perhaps you can afford this. While Central City, New Orleans, isn’t known for its short-term rentals, apparently that could change, and local housing activists are concerned.

Kim Ford, an activist who has a show called Treeshakers every Friday at 9:00 AM on WHIV 102.3 FM, didn’t mince words.

She says that the city is not only allowing this sort of development to occur, but that, thanks to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, it’s encouraging it: “But if the entire city of New Orleans isn’t leaving space for people who live here and have lived here all their lives, we’re being exed out of here, big time. This unit that is $7,000 a month for rent, just further cements that to me. The city of New Orleans doesn’t want people who have lived here all their lives to continue maintaining their same quality of life by not making it acceptable for us to have a reasonable living wage and employment. And by the high influx of crime, because poverty begets crime, and absolute poverty, begets absolute crime, we get violent crime. And that’s why we deal with what we’re facing here.”

Ford adds, “It makes the profound statement that they don’t give a damn about the people who live here. The people who are from here, they’re people who have no way of earning a living wage, and to have safe and decent housing. You know, it’s just a slap in the face.”

Housing rights activist Mike Howells agrees, saying, “I think that’s awful. I think it’s really bad even in the Quarter or Uptown. But this area is not traditionally considered a high-end neighborhood. And for them to be charging $7,000 for an apartment here, which I know for years and years and years, has been modestly priced, mostly black working class, is a sign of making the city unaffordable for the vast majority of the people.”

He adds, “That is not traditionally where the wealthy people live. And that creates more problems. Because they’re going to want to gentrify all the properties around it, and just drive up the cost. Because if they can rent this for $7,000, that will translate into the properties around it, the value going up. And that will make that area less and less and less affordable. It’s a bad development.”

Continuing, he says, “And this will be a classic example of how the real estate market is broken, as far as the people of New Orleans are concerned. You know, some people could say, well, we don’t have enough houses available. We have enough houses, we have enough rooms, we just don’t have enough affordable housing available now.”

So, there it sits, not a home, but an absurdity, available for month-to-month, or possibly day-by- day from Hosteeva in a Central City neighborhood. Will somebody rent it? Will the neighborhood change around it? Time will tell. But one thing is certain: taking housing from local people, will continue to cause city-wide problems: resentment, poverty, crime, and homelessness among them.

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