Toronto, Canada


Speaking from the point of view of a building owner, the Mott Haven resident who wrote the letter 'Ain't nothin' going on but the rent'[Letters, July 25–31] makes valid points, but he or she oversimplifies a very complicated matter. I agree that it's unfair to expect landlords to make repairs/improvements without jacking up the rent. But what MHR doesn't mention are these dynamics: 1) Harlem, Bed-Stuy, and dozens of other neighborhoods have suddenly received interest after being abandoned for decades. Those very same people that propped these neighborhoods up when they were on the ropes are now being pushed out of their homes of 30 and 40 years. 2) Upward mobility is a thing of the past, as hundreds of thousands of American jobs are outsourced to foreign countries. No matter the philosophical arguments for or against illegal immigration, tens of thousands of entry-level blue-collar jobs are going to Mexicans whom the greedy developers exploit, while all layers of government ignore this fact. 3) Subsidized housing programs are drying up. These programs, which were meant to prop people up as they worked their way up to a better life, are now nonexistent. 4) I cannot believe that MHR would be so naive as to purchase a multi-family building, presumably in an area that had been neglected for decades, and not understand that in exchange for living in an area teeming with urban decay, residents paid extremely low rent. As for the statement that tenants should "get real [and] get a job": I have a job. The fact of the matter is that, in this era of outsourcing, illegal labor, mushrooming cost of living, and stagnant wages, it is next to impossible to subsist, much less move up in the world.

Nathan F. Weiner
The Bronx

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