I came across a story that I had not yet heard, about a London based real estate company that invested in East Harlem a few years ago. As soon as the purchase was consummated they apparently started a campaign to push renters out of their places. Which means they let the apartments and the building and the quality of lives of the people living there deteriorate. Meanwhile the executive purchased fancy artwork and yachts and paid themselves handsomely. And then they went broke. Leaving the residents in perhaps more dire straights than they had been before the bust.
The article quotes the City’s response as follows: “The city said it is monitoring conditions in the buildings. So far, officials said, the financial distress has not translated into wholesale physical distress.” But one wonders who is monitoring the distress of the people living in those buildings this holiday season?
Our fellow neighbors, friends and families are in pain. Let’s figure out how we can give them a hand. Perhaps by spreading the word. Providing a service. Lending a hand. Wielding some influence. Dropping off some clothes. Food. Perhaps a toy? Anything. If you can think of something anyone can do, call – or something that you have done that others can emulate, post a comment with the details, so others may follow. Especially with the holidays upon us. Those parents deserve better. Those kids even more especially.
I leave you with the final paragraph of the article:
“Meanwhile, tenants still carry some share of envy toward their London landlords. They talk sometimes about how they would have used the fortunes that Dawnay Day executives spent on yachts and art collections. As Mr. Rufiles cuddles his 4-year-old daughter and rats squeak faintly from his kitchen cabinet, he marvels at the habits of the rich.
“What I would do with money is buy clothes for my children,” he said.”
I’m not sure I agree that what they carry is envy.
In any event surely we can – and must do better than this.