I always love the whole idea of Town and Gown, when a university comes to the city it resides in and asks, “How can we help you in these difficult times? Maybe we could write a check?
Oh, wait . . .
Picking up a copy of The Arkansas Traveler yesterday , I read an excellent article by Jack Suntrup - “UA Expansion Forces Residents Out of Homes.”
I know this dance.
In 2011, the University of Arkansas bought the entire area of Brenda Drive and Court Street, and since that time, residents of the street, dwindling in number, have been signing month-to-month leases.
In total, seven people live in the area in question.
So why the big deal? Why waste Internet space on something that happens every day, and besides, the UA needs Lebensraum . . .
Well, Babbitt-like Reader (hoping you’re not), because this is something that may never touch you, but when you go out in public, you may well find yourself surrounded by those who have been summarily thrown out of their homes in the name of progress.
And those who rent on a month-to-month (or even week-to-week) basis are so often overlooked by the rest of us. It’s often an unpleasant existence, and your life is filled with economic dread.
As one woman in the article, Nancy Dreyo, noted, renting on such a basis - and then being given the notice to vacate - does not give residents the time they need to move out, especially when they are disabled.
Dreyo, who is semi-retired, was quoted in the article as saying that not only her son, but another man the reporter spoke to were on disability.
“Nobody has a great deal of money,” she said.
John Diamond, associate vice-chancellor for University Realtions, told the reporter that since the UA’s plans to demolish the homes had been no secret, the residents should be prepared to move on “short notice.”
We are all aware of the realities of the housing/apartment world, and the bitter truth is that some of these folks may well end up in homes worse than what they live in now, simply because they won’t be able to come up with:
First month’s rent
Last month’s rent
Ah, maybe the UA will spring for it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if sometime, somewhere, somebody running for office addressed the issue of people who are chucked out of their homes so that something pretty can be put up?
We have been venting our spleens aplenty the past couple of weeks over Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark, as if somehow that makes us morally superior. But in our own communities, the poor and the disabled, members of that 47 percent, are removed from their homes all of the time to make room for expansion projects, or apartments that offer “eco-living.”
We don’t offer up a word of protest.
Our political candidates prattle on about everything they can think about, but will never, ever, broach the subject - a pox on all their houses.
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