She and her family became homeless this month. Her adult kids live with her, and some of the household is disabled. They have two service dogs. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a place to rent for five people and two dogs? Nobody wants them. Everybody has rules about animals, and the fact that they fell on hard times and couldn't continue to pay rent in their old place is now on their financial history for any landlord to see.
Should this even be legal? Shouldn't disabled people with service animals be allowed an exception to the pet rules? Or should the landlords have the right to protect their investment, because they're people too (except when they're big real estate development corporations)?
I don't know the answer to this problem, but I know it's a problem. Rental rates are skyrocketing in Portland right now, and it's very difficult to find a house to rent. The suburbs have apartments, but they're also pretty pricey, mostly built for efficiency with small space and lots of stairs. There are so few houses for rent that owners can interview several applicants and pick the one they feel is the "best fit." Laws protect the owners at the leasing stage, because laws protect the renters later, and it's very difficult to evict a renter from a home unless you're big business with big guns.
In mulling over the issue, I keep bumping up against the laws that allow corporations the same rights and privileges as individuals. Shouldn't corporations of a significant size be held to different standards? Does it have to be legal for a corporation reporting several million dollars of profits to use the same tax incentives as individuals? Do we have to keep letting corporations worth billions enjoy huge returns for their stockholders while carrying no responsibility for the infrastructure of our country?
I'm not saying the rich owe the poor a bunch of their money. I'm not talking about rich individuals at all. I'm saying that a corporation isn't a human, and the laws shouldn't treat it as a "tax entity," nor should it have more power than its small competitors in the same field. And I'm not talking about every corporation. What if the corporations with gross annual receipts of more than a billion dollars paid one percent more in income tax? I say gross, because they're so good at spending money to keep from having it taxed, including paying it out to shareholders. If people have stock in the most profitable companies in the country, they'll survive if their dividend is a percent smaller each year.
This is one of those radical ideas that'll never fly, because our government runs on a money-is-power model, and nobody wants to alienate their money. Changes like this will have to come from grassroots passion and massive numbers of citizens giving a damn. It's in the same league as requiring Congress to accept the same health care package that medicare provides, to save for their retirement instead of getting big retirement packages, and to stop being paid when they stop serving, due to either retirement or being voted out. (Currently, only five years in office qualifies them for partial retirement benefits, and after age 50 or 20 years in office, they receive nearly $100 thousand a year. For life!)
But I digress. If any of you are aware of a house for rent that would allow two service dogs, could you please let me know? These are nice people, and several agencies have pledged to provide financial support. All they have to do is find a place. Thanks.