Jennifer wrote: ↑16 Jun 2017, 02:15
Blue-sky speculation: mine and Jeff's place is cheaper-than-average for this area, though not remotely
"the cheapest" you can find; we're paying $950 for about 1200 square feet (with all in-apartment modern amenities including a sprinkler system, and a couple on-site luxuries we never use such as a swimming pool and community center); that's less than a dollar per square foot per month, and the conglomerate which owns this complex is obviously making a profit or else they wouldn't bother. And our under-a-dollar-a-foot could be even cheaper, if it did not include such things as our own laundry room with all necessary hookups, two full bathrooms and a full (though small) kitchen.
Suppose it were legal to build SRO or shared-bathroom-type housing, with modern safety features (such as sprinklers, and central heat and AC -- the latter is not
a luxury, in Atlanta and surrounding environs), but without such "luxuries" as "private bathing facilities for each household" or "private full kitchens for each household" -- instead, there's men's and women's bathrooms-with-stalls on every floor, plus the coin-op shower facilities I mentioned upthread. Probably wouldn't be practical to rent out individual mini-apartments with shared kitchen facilities, but dorm-size refrigerators and microwave ovens can be bought cheaply, either to pre-equip the places, or for tenants to provide on their own. The room where that woman in the story was staying with her children is maybe -- dunno for sure, since you can't see the whole room in the picture, but assuming the wall-you-can't-see is just against the head of the single bed whose end is visible in that photo, and the door is very close behind whoever is taking the picture, say 200 square feet, maybe a little less? That could be rented out for $175 a month and still make a decent profit for the owner (I'm assuming a multi-story building here, of course); if a coin-op shower cost 50 cents for five minutes of hot water then an individual trying to keep clean in Atlanta summer would spend an additional $15 to $60 a month for personal bathing.
If a basic room to live in and store your personal essentials behind a locked door-- nothing fancy or luxurious, you have to use the bathroom down the hall rather than your own private one, and also keep quarters on hand to shower in addition to whatever quarters are already necessary to wash your clothes in the nearest coin-op laundromat -- could be had for only $175 per month, plus up to
$60 monthly to keep your own self clean, homelessness wouldn't be nearly as big a problem in Atlanta as it is. A single person -- even a single mother -- who is only earning minimum wage could still swing that, and be able to pay all other expenses and even have a little left over to save for the future. There would still be a few unfortunates who couldn't even make that
much, of course -- mainly people with serious mental illness issues -- but "the homelessness epidemic" wouldn't be such a thing. And the main reason such facilities don't exist for rent is because it's illegal
for them to exist. You can only live like that in a homeless shelter, for a brief period of time, while following a bunch of obnoxious rules that make it hard if not impossible to hold any sort of job, and then
you're expected to find a way to afford at least $500 or so for even a cheap
one-bedroom apartment, plus utilities, plus deposits for the rent and utilities and so forth. (A quick Google search suggests some
studio apartments in the area can be had for a little less than that -- except I can't find any with vacancies right now, and anyway I think that would only be allowed for a single individual, not someone like that mother in the CL story with the two young children.)