Monday, March 13, 2023

I saw first-hand the economic domination of Seattle’s poor

Read Time: .5 minute

“Now, honey, I’m sure we can find a way to reduce the rent.”

It was late. Maybe around ten, my boss’s voice drifted back through the empty office.

I was alone and finishing my work when I overheard his half of the conversation. All ears now thinking that it must be sex he was expecting.

He paused for a moment, then, “that’s alright, honey; I’ll be there just after midnight. Oh, is he still driving that green V-dub?”

I knew from office gossip that the boss owned a bunch of rentals in the Central Area. An area famously redlined by the FHA, leaving it open to the affluent to offer private contracts to poor buyers. People often defaulted on these contracts, and many homes ended up as rentals producing profits for owners far above the returns from rentals in more prosperous neighborhoods.

Walking home that night, it dawned on me that I’d just seen the economic domination of the poor in Seattle. Along with a hefty dose of racism. Ugly shit.

As this NYT piece illustrates, I now know the same shit that keeps poor people poor in Seattle was going on everywhere.

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