Monday, February 16, 2015

Blade often discusses DC housing costs for LGBT-trans youth, but are there libertarian solutions?

Lateefah Williams has a major story about the need for housing for LGBT and trans youth in the Washington Blade Feb. 13, here  The focus is on Washington DC and the high rental and housing costs due to real estate values and gentrification, which has driven “poor people” out of the areas around U-Street, and Nationals Park (and probably a new soccer stadium soon), and now will do so in Northeast as new condos go up.
This is not racial;  it is simply about the power of those with money over those without, to play real life "Monopoly" where "winner takes all". 
The Blade has recently run stories and op-eds about rapidly escalating housing costs in Washington DC, which affect all residents, gay or not.   A one bedroom in the new Drake apartments, cutes as it looks, costs over $3000 a month, and helps pay for the new organ at the First Baptist Church on the same property (which I attend and have supported).  If the building had a few more floors, rents would be a little less.
But I’ve tweeted today that easing height restrictions in the District could help reduce rents and make it easier to offer affordable housing.  In Washington, the height restrictions artificially limit supply and might fit into some developers’ plans, as a somewhat subsidized crony capitalism from blue-state government.  Lifting height restrictions is a “libertarian” solution, as is allowing more pop-ups.
Of course, one can get into why rents in Manhattan are so much, where there is a different dynamic (extreme convenience for some people, for one thing, and foreign investors), and Donald Trump knows how to play the “air rights” game.  Of course, libertarians blame rent control in NYC more for making housing costs higher in the long run, for desirable buildings.  
The question of lower-income LGBT youth sidesteps an issue that is not discussed openly very much – asylees (from places like Russia, Nigeria, Uganda, the Middle East).  Will they need housing to stay here?

In 1980, when living in Dallas, I “took in” someone in an “emergency”, indirectly as a result of attention given to the Cuban Refugee Crisis, now largely forgotten history.  How it turned out was mixed.  Some people do better in life than others simply because they are more capable.  That’s as true in our community (for both young and older) as anywhere else.  

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