Jen Jackson's report describes a society that wants service industry workers and others to provide us with services we wouldn't dream of living without (HCN, 11/22/10). But when those workers' low-wage jobs don't allow them to purchase or rent "acceptable" or "conventional" housing, we shun them as neighbors. We don't want to be confronted with the uncomfortable reality that many of the jobs that support our consumer-friendly lifestyle do not pay a living wage.
No place is this more true than in a destination resort, where tourists or affluent residents usually don't want to see alternative housing. Could it be time to grab a page from the Depression playbook -- to create squatter "Boehnervilles" across the West? A lot of them would be shut down, but that would generate a lot of media coverage that would get this problem out in the open.
Fort Collins, Colorado