2 years have passed since its appearance, the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging and negatively affecting the lives of millions of people around the world. In the United States, people’s lives are also divided into two different light and dark segments: Those who are lucky to have a stable life have a prosperous life, and those who abstain from food and clothing live frugally every day.
For the “dark side” in the US, difficulties pile up in the midst of the pandemic when they don’t have a job, don’t have enough money to pay the bills, not even a small room to rent. With each passing day, they are all struggling to cope with the harsh reality to survive.
“Forget money” because of high inflation
The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken global supply chains, negatively impacting the development of the economy. In the US, food and gas prices are soaring, strangling consumers.
The United States Department of Agriculture recently said that inflation and supply chain disruptions have raised the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people to $53.31 (more than 1.2 million), in when 2020 is 46.90 USD. The average price for turkey, a popular Thanksgiving dish, is up 24% from 2020.
Americans are facing high inflation.
Ms. Cinda Shaver (62 years old, in Chicago) said she is spending at least 120 USD (2.7 million VND) a week to shop for 2 people at the discount supermarket. The bill was $90 more than before for the same item. In November, the US Department of Labor announced that US inflation reached the highest level in 30 years. The US consumer price index (CPI) in October 2021 increased by 6.2% over the same period last year. This is the highest year-on-year increase since November 1990.
According to US media, the prices of a range of goods and services from gasoline, health care to groceries, room rent… have increased beyond expectations in October 2021. High inflationary tensions have caused many families in the US to try to “squeeze their wallets”, even during important holidays like Thanksgiving.
This year’s American Thanksgiving is no longer affluent.
President Joe Biden is also under a lot of pressure with the gloomy situation of the US right now. The US president then had to reassure the people that: “Inflation is draining Americans’ pockets and my priority is to reverse this trend“.
Homeless people hit a record high, difficulties piled up
In June, the United States witnessed a record increase in the number of homeless people, especially in New York. They sit awkwardly in the middle of the footpath, lying on the sidewalk, the better off will have a small makeshift hut at the corner of the street. It is estimated that there are 80,000 homeless people in New York, or 1 in 106 city dwellers, most of whom frequent the city’s shelters.
Besides, there are at least 4,000 people without a place to live, having to sleep on the street every night. Many parts of the United States are struggling to cope with the consequences of Covid-19. Tourism has stagnated, unemployment and poverty remain high. The increase in homelessness also entails an increase in the number of violations of social order.
In many cities, some Americans could not find a place to live. In addition to skyrocketing house prices, the national average rent rose 16% from January to September this year, five times faster than usual, according to Apartment List, an online marketplace for apartment listings. household.
The number of homeless people has skyrocketed in the US.
“Many people have maxed out their credit cards, they have stayed with relatives or friends. Some people have tried to prolong their lives until they can’t last any longer. And now things are breaking all over America“, said Eric Tars, legal director of the National Homeless Law Center.
The Denver metro area has seen a 99 percent increase in homelessness since the pandemic began, and 33 percent of households feel “suffocated,” said Britta Fisher, director of housing for Denver. ” by housing costs. People of color and people with disabilities have long made up the bulk of the homeless population. The number of women seeking shelter has also tripled since the Covid-19 pandemic emerged.
Live in the “basement”
In the context of record house prices and to limit exposure against Covid-19, some Americans have chosen to live in basements. For decades, basement apartments have been seen as a place to live only for low-income people. They conjure up images of windowless, secretive and dangerous living spaces for large families.
In New York, more than 150,000 people now live in 50,000 basement apartments, according to some reports. However, no one is sure about the specific number because it is difficult for most people to manage the number of people living in the basements of houses and apartment buildings.
People living in basements often face the risk of being flooded when it rains heavily. Record flooding this fall engulfed 11 New Yorkers in illegal basement apartments. However, as New York’s rents hit record highs while the economy remained sluggish, basement apartments (both legal and illegal) became the perfect choice.
Many Americans have to live in a situation where “the sky and the earth are shining”.
According to data by expert Miller Samuel from real estate firm Douglas Elliman, the median rent in Manhattan has increased by as much as 10% from July to October and 20% since January as inflation hit highs. highest since 1990.
Michelle Lugo, 39, an executive assistant, is also on the hunt for a basement apartment. This person said:Basement apartments are a reasonable choice, especially when the rental market is hot and expensive“.
Meanwhile, Caroline Caugliere, 28, has been renting an apartment below a condominium in Prospect Heights to live with her boyfriend Christian, 30, since last year. The apartment lacks natural light but has enough basic amenities. Low cost alone is more than enough to motivate renters like Caugliere to move underground.
Basement apartments also provide tenants with a “layer of security” during the pandemic, according to Compass broker Isaac Rosenberg. “Basement apartments limit contact with other people. They are truly hidden gems for their cheap price and complete amenities“, said Rosenberg.