Things That Matter

Why Latinos Can’t Afford Rent

Credit: @taylormccraney/ Instagram / Universal Pictures

Everyone in the U.S. went through hard times during the recession that peaked in 2009 with the housing market crash. And while the economy is slowly recovering, Latino millennials are not buying houses anytime soon.

Trulia, the real estate listing site, recently posed this question: “Who Lost the American Dream?” To no one’s surprise, the answer seems to be: Latino millennials.

During the recession, five percent of the population become renters rather than homeowners and “Hispanics became renters at a rate greater than any other ethnic group,” Trulia says.

READ: Thanks to Mexicans, Los Angeles has the Sunset Strip

“Not only are the percentage of renters increasing, so are the rents – which have risen faster than incomes,” Trulia stated. “Average rents in the top 50 markets have risen 22.3 percent while incomes nationally fell 5.8 percent in the nine years since 2006.”

So with incomes being low and housing prices increasing, the coveted “American Dream” seems more like a mirage than dreamlike.

Read more about the prolonged housing crisis from the LA Weekly here.

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Your Abuela Invented The Hustle But Young Latinos Are Remaking It For A New Generation

Culture

Your Abuela Invented The Hustle But Young Latinos Are Remaking It For A New Generation

Alexasunshine83 / Instagram

Conyó, mein, the hustle is so real for our generation. Just as real is social media culture and presenting an Internet version of ourselves to everyone else’s Internet self. While we’re not trying to glamorize selling our plasma eight times a month (that hustle is real), we are excellent at making surviving look like thriving.

By no means did we invent the hustle. Our abuelos were smuggling in homemade food to the movie theaters long before the 2008 recession as a point of pride. We’ve grown up judging the bobos around us carrying designer bags when the knock offs are just as good. Our family has been hustling for so long to give us a better life, but this isn’t what they had in mind.

Our generation’s version of what’s a socially acceptable way to thrive is either a point of pride or shame for our parents, with no in between.

1. Freelancing

@lubosvolkov / Instagram

According to a Pew Research study, half of millennials have a side hustle. Given that we grew up coding for our Myspace and Neopets’ pages, that tech-savvy instinct is helping us make extra money on the side in building websites, web design, blog writing and more.

Some of us are freelancing full time and the padres are still asking us, years later, if we’ve found a job yet. “Yes?” We’ve made our home offices look Instagram sterile, but the reality is we’re working from our couches in our piyamas.

2. Thrifting

@alexasunshine83 / Instagram

While Latinos grew up wearing their prima’s hand-me-down’s, the rest of Millennials are valuing a solid thrift find higher than dropping $1k on a Kanye West ripped up white camiseta. While our parents hoped we’d grow up one day to buy business suits and new clothes, we’re learning to hem and repair thrift finds because we’re resourceful like that. We have no shame and only gains when it comes to thrifting.

3. #VanLife

@naturechola / Instagram

Y’all, some of us are technically homeless and loving it. When viejos tell us to just put half our income in savings, we’re like, “que que?” Rising rent costs has most of us giving up half our income to rent, making it near impossible to save up for practical things (like homes) or even a vacation.

Instagram angel Nature Chola combines the two with #FakeVanLife. Since we’re too broke for hotel rooms, she’s just added a foam mattress to the trunk of her SUV and gets those ocean views for the cost of the gas to get you there. Would our abuelos think this glamorous? Probably not, but this dream is attainable for our generation and we’re here for it.

4. Camping

@danimarzdesign / Instagram

In a similar vein, we’re not affording international vacations or even weekend getaways. I picked up camping as a hobby because it costs $6 a night and was the cheapest way to get out of the city and get some R&R in. Are my parents horrified? Yes. Do I care? Absolutamente not.

5. Dog Sitting

@thatssofetch.pet / Instagram

We can’t afford that gorgeous Frenchie of our dreams so we’re dog sitting instead and featuring them on the feed. The ideal pet sitting gig is one that gets you out of your apartment with three roommates and into a house with real live A/C. Dog sitting is mostly poop scooping and wiping slobber off casi todo, but that photogenic face deserves all the limelight. Plus, we get the puppy cuddles we wish we could afford all to ourselves.

6. Motorcycles

@bella_biker / Instagram

Have any of us sold our eggs to buy a motorcycle? Maybe. Millennials are delaying car ownership as we try to pay off student debt. Motorcycles, on the other hand, cost just a few thousand dollars to own y ya. #ProudParents

7. Potlucks in the Park

@romangineer / Instagram

Try to organize any kind of gathering at a restaurant and it’s going to suck. Splitting bills can be anxiety-provoking and nobody wants to save money by eating a salad. Thankfully, the “potluck” is just how Latinos normally eat, and we’ve got it down right. The aerial food photography aesthetic, not so much.

8. Cafecito en la casa

@gabe_media / Instagram

While it might be a nice treat to take abuela to Starguacs, we are absolutely not paying for someone else to make our coffee. Plus Café Bustelo has a stellar aesthetic. 😉

9. Protesting for Equal Rights

@danimarzdesign / Instagram

We are insanely busy hustling and trying to survive in this economy. That’s why we make time to protest to demand a $15 minimum wage, freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, free college and healthcare for all.

Beneath all the glamour, we’re tired of having to hustle this hard to live #debtfree and move up in the world. So we protest, we fight for our futures, and we still look good doing it.

After Denying It, HUD Declares Federal Housing Administration Is No Longer Helping DACA Recipients With Housing Loans

Things That Matter

After Denying It, HUD Declares Federal Housing Administration Is No Longer Helping DACA Recipients With Housing Loans

In a blow to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says young undocumented immigrants will be ineligible for federally backed housing loans. The news comes after months of confusion about the policy for immigrants who were brought here as children. Back in April, Secretary of HUD, Ben Carson denied this at a congressional testimony but a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official said last week DACA recipients are indeed not eligible for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are intended to make homeownership more attainable for those with lower credit scores and incomes.

Credit:@hispaniccaucus/Twitter

“Because DACA does not confer lawful status, DACA recipients remain ineligible for FHA loans,” Len Wolfson, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official, wrote in a letter to California Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar last Tuesday. “Determination of citizenship and immigration status is not the responsibility of HUD, and the Department relies on other government agencies for this information.”

The latest declaration is a reversal from HUD’s previous statements to questions about whether FHA is backing mortgages for DACA recipients. The Trump administration has been trying to rescind the Obama era policy but has been blocked by a federal judge from doing so.

“I’m sure we have plenty of DACA recipients who have FHA mortgages,” Carson said at a congressional hearing in April. “I would simply say that I have instructed everyone to follow the laws of the United States with regard to DACA, with regard to anyone who is an immigrant or a potential immigrant to this country, and as long as you continue to follow the laws you will have my approval.

In the letter, Wolfson put the blame on the Obama administration for the policy and its regulations. He references former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s letter from 2012 that DACA “confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship” for recipients.

Even after Carson said that “plenty of DACA recipients” were receiving FHA-backed loans, lenders were being told to do the exact opposite.

Credit:@buzzfeednews/Twitter

According to Buzzfeed News, After Carson denied the notion that DACA recipients weren’t being approved for FHA loans, many reported that they were still being denied help.

“The explanation we received from HUD is inconsistent with the realities on the ground and statements made by Secretary Carson to members of the Appropriations Committee, and it does nothing to clarify the confusion created by the agency’s inconsistent policies,” Aguilar said in a statement to BuzzFeed News last Thursday.

The FHA has never stated that receiving a loan means requiring citizenship or lawful status.

Credit:@senjackyrosen

DACA recipients had previously never faced problems when applying for federally-backed housing assistance. FHA has also never had a clear policy that pertains to DACA recipients. According to the FHA’s single-family housing handbook, a housing guide the agency refers lenders to, notes that an Employment Authorization Document, which DACA recipients possess, is necessary “to substantiate work status” for noncitizens and qualifies them for such loans.

Under the Obama administration, HUD was supporting DACA borrowers under these circumstances. Yet the Trump administration has clearly enforced these guidelines differently.

“We know that DACA recipients have received these loans in the past, and it’s shameful that HUD is allowing the president’s anti-immigrant agenda to dictate housing policy,” Aguilar told Buzzfeed News.

This news comes out as the House Financial Services Committee last Wednesday passed a bill, Homeownership for DREAMers Act, that guarantees DACA recipients have the right to obtain federally backed mortgages.

This means recipients also can not be denied based on their immigration status. The bill is set to go to the House floor for approval, but many believe it’s unlikely the bill will pass the Republican-held Senate or be signed into law by the president.

READ: With Democrats Now In Charge Of The House, What Does That Mean For DACA Moving Forward?