Culver City Observer -

Council to Mull New Housing Plan

 

August 30, 2018



COMMENTARY

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

The Culver City Community Development Director of the Housing Division, Tevis Barnes, will soon be presenting to City Council a proposal for three areas of study related to affordable housing and homelessness.

• Re-use of motels, with the goal of converting them to affordable-housing units.

• Sites for small, pre-manufactured homes, which may include shipping-box style homes.

• Seasonal homeless shelters.

The tentative date for this presentation is as an “agenda item” for a City Council meeting within a few weeks.

Bankruptcy Surges Among Elderly

There is no doubt in my mind that Bankruptcy is surging for older Americans. We saw a COLA increase every year of just two percent, Social Security hasn’t kept us out of the 99-Ccent stores. Meantime, the cost of gasoline, food, cable, water and electricity have gone through the roof.

Now, the City wants more tax money for higher wages and benefits. I say, and you should also, vote NO, NO, and NO 0n the Measure C Tax-increase in NOVEMBER!

The rate at which Americans age 65 and older are filing for bankruptcy has more than tripled since 1991 amid reductions in the social safety net and the shift away from pensions, according to a new study.

“Older Americans are more likely than ever to find themselves in Bankruptcy Court, seeking protection from creditors,” said the study written by academics at institutions that included the University of Idaho.

It also said that among Americans in bankruptcy, the percentage of older people “has never been higher.”

The study, titled “Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from life in a Risk Society,” found that between 2013 and 2016, the average rate at which 65- to 74-year old Americans filed for bankruptcy increased to 3.6 out of every 1,000 individuals from just 1.2 per 1,000 in 1991.

Of the individuals who file for bankruptcy annually, 12.2 percent are ages 65 to 74 . In 1991, it was merely 2.1 percent.

The aging of the U.S. population explains “only a small portion” of the rising bankruptcy rate for older people, the study said.

The study cited reductions in safety-net programs, including Social Security and Medicare, and the shift from old-fashioned pension plans--which guarantee retirees a set income for life--to 401(k) type retirement plans, which leave it to workers to decide how much to save and how to invest.

The age at which full Social Security benefits are available has been rising, to 67 for those born in 1960 from 62 years those born earlier.

In addition, the percentage of households with debt headed by people 55 or older has risen steadily for more than two decades--to 68 percent in 2016 from 54 percent in 1992, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan public-policy research nonprofit.

The bankruptcy study is from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which collects data on age, race, education and marital status, among other factors. It’s based on Bankruptcy Court records and questionnaires answered by filers who chose to participate.

Some economists took issue with the study.

In an email, Olivia Mitchell, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School, said that the study didn’t draw on a representative sample over the entire time it covers, which would make “it impossible to determine whether the trends identified are statistically significant.”

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at http://www.culvercityobserver.com.

 

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