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Millennial Life: There's No Place Like Home

Cassie McClure on

I didn't know how much I must have been hated as an apartment dweller. I lived in the same complex, moving into different units for different reasons, for 10 years. However, when you talk about apartments with some people, it's as if the worst of the worst crawl out of them and slink into our streets.

While living in the apartment, I worked at a library. I didn't play loud music or have loud parties. I paid exorbitant rates for air conditioning -- twice what I pay now in my house -- for ancient electric units that probably belonged to the place when it was built. Probably the most annoying thing I did was accumulate two hand-me-down cars from my dad, and I was a little territorial about parking them.

However, I never thought about moving, especially after doing it more than I liked as a kid attached to the military. I could have done what groups of my friends did, renting a whole house, but I didn't need an entire house; I just needed a room.

I probably would have made do in a studio, but I was lured in by a boyfriend living in the complex with a roommate at the time, after having shared an on-campus apartment with a roommate. He and I moved in. We broke up. We kept living there. He'd play video games, and I met my husband. There was a switcheroo of roommate to husband. (That's another story for another day.)

But, to the lady I spoke to last night, all people in apartments must be cut from the same swathe of cloth. Unless the development was single-family homes, she didn't want it.

"Moving in and out, don't know who they are, and they're not part of the community," she said. I thought about how I cried when the new apartment complex owners cut down the beautiful old tree outside my window.

She called the city a cesspool and I sighed. She asked if it would ever return to how it was. I told her: "Truthfully, no. Not with wealth inequality the way it is and without the safety nets that would catch us when we fall."

 

And we all can fall. Most of us are a paycheck or two away, or medical debt wipes away what you've saved and still holds its hand out for the rest. Another interaction from this week wafted in and out of my mind as she spoke about "those people."

Someone had reached out to the county for help. They were disabled, their spouse was in the hospital, and their trailer park was raising rent from $825 to $1,200. And in New Mexico, that's A-OK. There's no cap on that.

And who knows, they might be a terrible tenant. It's hard to say without hearing the other side. I watched my mom rent out a house and deal with tenants who didn't care and broke things. But then, I also watch a friend rent out her house to a mother and daughter who live in her house with little friction.

Not everyone wants to buy a house. Not everyone needs a house. But everyone needs, and deserves, a place to call home.

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Cassie McClure is a writer, millennial, and unapologetic fan of the Oxford comma. She can be contacted at cassie@mcclurepublications.com. To find out more about Cassie McClure and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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