Housing Authority Raises Rent During Pandemic

One will hear a lot of messages pour out during a time of crisis like we’re currently in. By and large, those messages will be of hope and togetherness. They’re often messages about everyone coming together and sharing equally in the suffering, so that we can all get through the pandemic as a species, not as any class or race or nationality of people. Though, in reality, these messages are all platitudes, as there are always parties looking to increase their profits on the backs of other people’s suffering.

This seems to be precisely what some want to do in Houston, Texas, as they’re actually raising the costs of rent during this global pandemic of the novel coronavirus. According to a source for the Houston Chronicle on Thursday, April 30, residents of Housing Authority apartments in Houston received a letter that said their rent would increase by $50 a month.

At a time where politicians are calling for rent suspensions and are attempting to put pressure on mortgage lenders to stop evictions, some people simply do not get that everyone has a burden to bear. According to a source about this situation, “Some people see the stimulus money coming in….and they cannot wait to take advantage of this...believing that this is ‘free’ money to which they’re entitled.” While that is only someone’s opinion, it does seem to paint a factual picture of how some people decide to treat this situation.

It is very reminiscent of the man who spent thousands of dollars over a two-state span, buying up every bottle of hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, only to attempt to sell a $1 bottle for $70 on Amazon. The difference here, of course, is that rent is dealing with people’s lives and their ability to keep a roof over their heads. They cannot shelter from the storm if they don’t have shelter, so this move is being met with a lot of backlash.

“You’re not supposed to go out,” said resident Betty Castillo. “You don’t raise rent during a pandemic.” However, there always seems to be a segment of society that is deadest on profiteering off of other people’s suffering, and nothing about that is likely to change.

What’s Being Done about Rent Hikes

As of right now, government is not stepping in to stop the increases. According to Frank Doyle, the chairman of the Ridgefield Housing Authority (RHA), the rent increases had been planned prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, so they just want things to proceed as usual, and it has nothing to do with trying to get extra money from people who are receiving stimulus checks.

Whether this is true or not, the residents are irate that the increases aren’t being put on hold. These are people who are still all paying rent. How badly does the RHA need extra money now that they’re willing to cause extra suffering in order to extract $50 a month extra from people who can’t afford it? This is the burning question on the mind of residents.

What makes this even a tougher pill to swallow is that the RHA is specifically set up to provide low-income housing for senior citizens, and offer 152 units. So, the only reason they supposedly exist is to help seniors, most of whom live off of social security checks, yet they’re chomping at the bit to get that extra $7,600 a month and cannot wait until the pandemic passes.

Preying on anyone is wrong. Though when it’s low-income senior citizens, one has to wonder if this isn’t outright criminal.

While no final decision has been made yet, it appears as if Doyle and the RHA are not backing down. They have been wanting to raise the rent for a while, and they seem unwilling to pass up this opportunity to do so. For the RHA, it is a pretty big leap for anyone to consider that this isn’t being done simply to take advantage of the senior citizens’ social security increases for living expenses. This might not be the case, but it certainly does seem to follow logically that the RHA witnessed seniors getting more money per month, and then made the decision to take some of that for increased profit.

One has to wonder: Would a housing association be so bold to do this to younger people who might protest and have a few other things to say about it? The tenants await the final decision from the RHA as of late Thursday evening.

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