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Bigoted homeowners?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis November 1, 2012 08:58 PM

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Amazing. Some homeowners actually still think they are cut above all those plodding renters out there.

After all, with the collapse of the housing market, there wouldn't seem to be much for the average homeowner to be strutting around about.

Still, some slimy old prejudices continue to lurk out there in homeowner land.

Especially bizarre is the idea that renting an apartment - especially a subsidized one - somehow lumps you in with welfare recipients.

Here's a particularly rock-headed comment from DickMaven on a recent post of mine about a new survey on the attitudes of today's renters. Roughly a quarter of all said they have no interest in buying a home. Not now, not ever.

That was enough to send our friend, a frequent contributor to the comments section of this blog, over the edge. (OK, DickMaven and I haven't exactly been exchanging holiday cards lately, so I am making the assumption that he/she is a homeowner. If not, then the attitudes and prejudices expressed are doubly strange.)

Welcome to Obamatopia . These are the "victims" who will live on public handouts for the rest of their lives. You have to have a job to buy a house. Why work when section 8 and other programs will pay the rent?

Kudos to ckbike, who bravely took issue with this completely hateful comment.

What an ignorant comment. My wife and I are mid 30 professionals making a comfortable income and choose to rent rather than buy. Besides taking student interest deduction on our $100k+ student loan debt we don't receive government handouts. We are not victims. The only victims are those Americans playing by the 'rules', working hard and continually being shaken down by those with wealth and power.

Sadly, DickMaven doubled down.

ckbike - Do your homework before making a fool of yourself. Over 35% of renters are subsidized.If 25% of renters say they will rent forever, it does not take a genius to figure out which ones they are. I think the last number that I heard on rent subsidies was $62 billion annually.It is well beyond time change this issue.
It's hard to know where to start here - DickMaven has managed to pack a whole bunch of falsehoods into a pair of short comments.

But while DickMaven is more than a little over the top, he/she is broadcasting a misconception I've heard more than once from otherwise upstanding homeowners in the suburbs.

Basically, it's the idea that renters living in subsidized apartments are all Section 8 recipients on the government dole.

Instead, most of these units are simply rented out for somewhat less than the going rate. And typically they are blended into market rate developments, making up 20 percent or less of the total number of units.

And who are the tenants? Well often teachers and town workers who might not otherwise be able to afford to live in the communities they serve.

But every time a developer proposes one of these projects in the suburbs, you can bet there is a group of homeowners out there, pitchforks in hand, believing they are being invaded by a public housing project straight out of the big city.

Well banks have never required intelligence tests before doling out mortgages. Sorry, but that is about as stupid as you can get.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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