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Friday round-up 6.20
June 20, 2014

A round up of recent news about housing, homelessness and related issues. This week: Breaking down stereotypes of homeless teens; affordable housing lagging behind luxury rentals in the Twin Cities; fewer Americans blame the poor for poverty. |

  • If you have a stereotype of homeless youth, this article may cause you to change your mind. Dawn Loggins of North Carolina studies linguistics at Harvard. But her background may not be what you expect of an Ivy Leaguer. An excerpt:

In 2011, Loggins returned home from a summer program for gifted high school students to discover her parents, who were experiencing a number of problems, had abandoned her. She lived with several people, notably middle school custodian Sheryl Kolton, and worked as a custodian herself at Burns High School in her senior year.

Read the full article: “2 years later, former homeless student thrives at Harvard,” by Steve Lyttle, Charlotte Observer, June 16, 2014

  • In our own backyard, beautiful luxury rental apartment buildings are changing our skyline. But the shadow of that construction boom is a significant decrease of apartments affordable to low-wage earners. An excerpt:

The Twin Cities are in the midst of an apartment boom. Demand is strong, and while that's good for developers and investors, the rising monthly cost of renting an apartment is making it increasingly difficult for people of limited means to find an affordable place to live.

Read or listen to the full story: “Amid an apartment boom, a shortage of affordable options,” by Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio, June 19, 2014

  • And, on a national level, attitudes about why people are poor have shifted significantly in the past two decades, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Demographic differences remain; for example, Democrats are more than twice as likely than Republicans to say that forces outside of one’s control are a significant cause of poverty. And women are more likely than men to attribute poverty to structural causes. Here's an excerpt from an NBC News report:

Meg York, 41, a Democrat in rural northern Maine, runs sales for a family farm. As a single mother making her money on a small farm, she says she can “understand the feeling of not being able to afford things.”

“As a teenager,” York says, “I thought if you work hard enough in the United States of America, then it’s your own fault you’re poor. I adopted the conservative view around here. But my view has definitely morphed and changed over the years, and I see a bigger picture.”

Read more: “Poll: Fewer Americans blame poverty on the poor,” by Seth Freed Wessler, NBC News