Homelessness and Property Owners Essay

Submitted By owentyler21
Words: 1625
Pages: 7

1. In the mid-late 1800s, Tenements were defined as three or more families living in one house, or two or more families living on the same floor. It just so happens at this point in time, many immigrants from foreign countries were showing up in America. Most of these people, including Riis, ended up in New York looking for work in the City. The property owners fit as many families as they possibly could into their rear houses to make as much profit as possible. They completely ignored the fact of hygiene, mostly due to the lack of hygiene knowledge in this time period. If people refused to live in the crowded tenement, the would be forced to live on the streets with no protection at all from disease and weather. The high demand for housing as well as property owner greed were the reason for crowded tenements. The high rate of immigrants also raised the demand for housing options in the city. It was hard to find a high paying, steady job to support a family so people had to find a low cost place to live. Property Owners loved this, as well as the wealthy New York businessmen. The property owners knew the people needed a place to stay unless they wanted to live on the streets. The owners allowed them, for a small fee, to stay in a “rear house” which is a piece of land behind the traditional house on a street. The more people he could fit into this house, the more profit he would make. The tenements were not well kept at all and were filled with disease, poor air ventilation and little to no lighting. The people couldn’t afford anything better so that’s how the tenements really took off.
The author has seen first hand the horrors of the tenements. For this reason, he proposes a solution in chapter 24. Riis suggests that law enforcement must do more to make laws regarding health. He also says its up to the property owners to have regard for their neighbors and tenets health. He also thinks that the population will drift to other different cities across the coast and country.
2. The author thinks very lowly of immigrants. He thinks most of them are drunks or criminals. He also always says that they are dirty and have too many kids. A lot of these scenarios are true, but only because they don’t have the job skills to live well. He wishes them well though which is a good thing.
I don’t think he is racist. A racist person would not care enough to write an entire book on the harships of the people that they hate. Although he does talk kind of bad about them, nothing he is saying is false or over exaggerated by any means. He was simply stating the truth which some people may find racist when it’s not. His personal background isn’t like those of the people he writes about in this book. He came from a middle class family unlike these people living in poverty. He doesn’t think its right for people to be treated the way the landlords are treating the people in their tenements because he never lived like that. He cant completely understand the struggles of the people in the book.

3. . Almost all families living in tenemants had more than one child. In some cases, one tenement could hold 128 children, in just one house! Many times kids would end up dead and nobody would know who the parents were. Since the parents didn’t have high paying jobs to support the family, many kids would spend their days begging for food or money so they could hopefully help feed their family. A very large percent of these kids have little to no schooling. This makes getting the skills necessary for finding a real job very hard. The author seems to think that many of the boys could make great mechanics, but they are unable to get proper schooling. Due to this, many children ended up working in sweatshops in the city. They would work very long hours for just a small amount of pay. It was usually tenements that were turned into sweatshops so the owners could avoid rules the city had made for factories for working hours, breaks etc.
Housing was a