The lady above died a short time after I shot her. Her house was the concrete bench at L.A.’s MacArthur Park.
The other day I was in Kroger’s and was shopping for apples. They had some Honeycrisp apples at $3.99 a pound. I weighed one apple and it came in at $2.25. That got me thinking about how can poor people afford to live nowadays with the high cost of living
The lady below used to sleep in back of a restaurant waiting for them to empty the trash so she could eat. You would think that in the richest country on the planet things would be better for the poor.
Last time I was in L.A. I asked a guy living in Santa Monica how much he is paying for rent in a apartment building at the beach. He said 3 guys live in a 1 bedroom and split $2600 a month rent. He told me they take weekly turns at sleeping in the bedroom.
Average cost for an apartment in L.A. is $1522, San Francisco is $2277 and N.Y. is $3233. (In my own case I’m not poor, but I can’t afford any of these rents nor can I afford a steady diet of $2.25 a piece apples either.)
The commonly thrown around figures for comfortable living within one’s means says you should only spend 25% to 35% of your income on rent. If we average that figure out to 30%, that would mean a person has to make $5,000 a month income for L.A., $7,500 a month income for San Fran and $10,750 a month income for living in N.Y.
I can see why it is easy to become homeless nowadays if you lose a foothold for a month or two and you are living paycheck to paycheck. Virtually impossible to ever get back on your feet unless someone gives you a hand up…a big hand.
First and last months rent plus security deposit in L.A. may be approaching $5,000 to $6,000. In N.Y., one would need close to $10,000. Really, with the high cost of living nowadays, I’m surprised there are not a ton more homeless people in the US.
I’ve had a taste of homelessness, boondocking in a vehicle, washing up in supermarket bathrooms and foraging for food. It is weird feeling not knowing where your going to sleep every night. I was lucky and had a vehicle to sleep in and a home to go back to…it is something else to sleep on concrete.
I read an article on Robert Frank. It mentioned how he was vey poor in his early years and how he stopped wearing socks to save money. Now that he is well off, very well off, he still does not wear socks. It also talked about how he does not buy train tickets and just steals rides. Some habits we develop in lean times are hard to break.
Back in the 1970’s it was a different world to live in. In the early 70’s before the oil crunch gasoline was .23 cents a gallon. A one bedroom apartment in L.A. was $150 a month. Studios were $75 to $95. Tuition at L.A.C.C. cost $6.50 a semester and Cal State L.A. was $63 a trimester.
For one tuition fee a student could take as many classes as they liked. If you attended a junior college for the first 2 years, a bachelor’s degree could be had for $450 to $500 in tuition costs. Houses in L.A.’s Miracle Mile district, that sell for 2 to 3 million dollars now, only cost $25,000.
I don’t have any answers. Greed is a big part of the problem…you know, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
This fellow had a good job and worked in the fashion industry in NYC before becoming homeless. He said his pants were made from old drapes. He folded up the jacket he is leaning on to keep the outside clean to give a good appearance to the world. He was homeless, but he still had dignity.
As they wring the sand to get some oil out and crack the rocks to find the last pockets of gas…the writing is on the wall.