Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When it comes to trashy neighborhoods is it all about the money?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21947 points ) January 29th, 2014

I have not lived in any well-to-do, or rich neighborhoods, most have been low-income, or working class neighborhoods. More times than not, those neighborhoods of low-income renters are trashed out far more than those neighborhoods where people earn more, and/or own their property. In the ”better” neighborhoods I don’t see abandoned sofas, lawn chairs, busted VCRs, bags of trash, discarded bike frames, abandoned shopping carts full of junk, and trash in the gutters, etc. Is there a connection with neighborhood pride and money earned? Is it because the ”better” neighborhoods there are more property owners so they pay more attention to their property being trashed? Neighborhood for neighborhood, (at least in larger cities), why are a greater amount of lower income neighborhoods that are trashy compared to richer ones?

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61 Answers

anniereborn's avatar

I think part of it may be that a lot of lower income people are on disability for some reason. It is much harder to have the energy/ability to keep things nice when you feel awful and/or your mobility it challenged.

Cupcake's avatar

I think the abandonment happens when tenants have to move in a hurry (or realize that their crap isn’t worth hiring a moving van)... so it’s directly linked to rental vs. homeowner occupied houses/neighborhoods.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Absolutely NOT! It’s about mind sets.

Seek's avatar

In my county, you’re not allowed to bring trash to the dump for free unless you can prove you pay property taxes.

So renters can’t go to the dump without paying a commercial dumping rate.

Many people in those areas either have poorly running vehicles or no vehicle at all, and cannot afford to rent or borrow a vehicle with a trailer to carry furniture to the dump anyway.

The people who own those buildings (we call them “slum lords”) do not make any effort to maintain the property up to code or even decently liveable condition. Many times, if a renter makes any kind of improvement to the building, it is considered “damage” by the owner, and the owner uses that as an excuse to not return the renter’s deposit.

Many of these buildings are rented by the month or by the week, and there is no particularly good reason for the tenants to put any sort of ownership into the building themselves. After all, they could get evicted if their boss decides not to schedule them one day, and they come up a few dollars short on rent day. So why bother?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seek…around here we have large item pick. You just put your couch out by the trash, call the city to let them know it’s there and they’ll schedule a time to pick it up at no cost. Don’t know if they have that where you live.
I can see your point, but simply keeping things clean and picked up doesn’t take any money. It just takes a little pride.

I lived in a house that the landlord didn’t take care of. In fact now it’s probably close to condemned. when I moved in I spent a month cleaning up trash around the house, and hauling rotting shit out of the communal basement (3 units used the one basement.) After that, for as long as I was there, it was clean and the grass was mowed and trimmed. Doesn’t cost any thing to sweep off your front porch and make the kids get their toys out of the yard and put them away.

Seek's avatar

No, large item pickup has to be paid for. It’s an additional trip for the garbagemen, since we have those automatic trucks now.

What pride? Again, these people are living in places by the month or by the week, and even the owners don’t care about the place.

I’m not saying that no one cares, or that I don’t care, or whatever. I just understand why some people wouldn’t.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I see your point.
Well, then, that old couch goes out to the dumpster and sits there forever!

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III ” simply keeping things clean and picked up doesn’t take any money. It just takes a little pride”

And physical ability/stamina. Many low income people are often not able to do as much.
Money worries wear you down. That on top of what other things may have put you in that situation tend to make you emotionally gutted too. It’s hard to care about those things if you are worried about where your next meal is coming from.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know. Money worries wore me down too. Left me crying in bed some nights when the kids couldn’t hear. Never had a problem with food, though, cuz we got food stamps.

Seek's avatar

Yep. They usually pile up until the trash truck can’t reach the dumpster anymore, and then someone eventually comes and hauls it all away.

josie's avatar

Often enough, trash is as trash does.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course it’s about money. Consider the stereotypes of Appalachia, rusty trailers, Rednecks whose dirty children swing from tires in front of dilapidated shacks with lawnless yards. It’s ALWAYS about money (or the lack of it)

Dutchess_III's avatar

But at least they get it away from their property. They don’t just throw it out in the yard. The OP made comments about trash bags full of trash just littered everywhere, broken lawn chairs, trash in the gutters, etc. Those things don’t have anything to do with money. Has to do with lazy.

@stanleybmanly Nope. It’s about the mind set. If you gave someone like the person you described above a million dollars, would they suddenly start keeping things clean? No. They’d just have a lot of high dollar trash lying about.

anniereborn's avatar

Where I am you have to pay for trash removal. If you don’t have the money to pay for that and a public dumpster isn’t available, what do you do?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Leave it where ever you take your trash out to. Hell, set it on the curb. SOMEbody will take it.

anniereborn's avatar

Someone is gonna take bags full of garbage?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@anniereborn Many low income people are often not able to do as much.
In what way? Most of the low-income neighborhoods I lived in or visited frequently wasn’t loaded with old hunchback people or those on walkers or in wheelchairs. Many were women who was fully capable of doing things but didn’t work because they would jack off their section 8, or ruin their welfare. Many places had young men who did not work but was living off a relative, and spent the majority of their time hanging around the mini mart, or ubiquitous liquor store, panhandling or hustling comers and goers. If they were truly disabled they would not be able to get far from their home to pollute the street, back alleys, and empty lots. I am sure once they emptied their 40 oz of 211 High Gravity they could take the can and toss it in the trash, and since they need money, should recycle the can.

anniereborn's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yes that is indeed true of many of the residents in those neighborhoods, but most certainly not all. And if you think someone need be hunchbacked, in a wheelchair or using a walker to be disabled, you need to get your head out of the sand.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@anniereborn Where do you take your garbage when you take it out?

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III We pay to have trash pick-up in front of our house. Luckily we can afford it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I do too. It’s part of my city utility bill. Poor people have to pay utility bills too.
You said, “Someone is gonna take bags full of garbage?” Yeah. The garbage men. That’s what they get paid the big bucks to do.

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III What I am saying is….in poor neighborhoods where people rent, it is not part of any bill. They have to pay for it extra. If they cannot pay this bill and do not have access to a public dumping area, their trash WILL sit around.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Not around here they don’t. Where do you live?

anniereborn's avatar

Chicagoland

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@anniereborn What I am saying is….in poor neighborhoods where people rent, it is not part of any bill. They have to pay for it extra. If they cannot pay this bill and do not have access to a public dumping area, their trash WILL sit around.
That never happened in any neighborhood I lived in. If I rented I either had to establish garbage service myself (rare), or it was part of the rent and the landlord handled it. If the landlord did not have garbage service he/she got fined by the city and if not corrected would have had the city red tag the property then they would make no money off rent. If it were up to me and I neglected to do it, the city would find me for breaking the law of not having garbage service and fine the landlord for being out of code on trash removal. If that happened I don’t think anyone would be a long-time resident because they would get evicted.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yes, this was starting to get surreal. There is no way that I believe that any city would allow trash to pile up because someone couldn’t pay the bill. That breeds disease and it’s third world shit. I’m going to have to ask for proof.

Seek's avatar

Then the county code enforcement department can fine the owner of the property for it, and make more money. Duh.

The city makes little money on actual trash service, since it’s all provided by private companies.

Code violations are coin in the county coffers.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Renters have no investment to protect period.

downtide's avatar

Where I live they will pick up regular trash for free provided it fits into the recycling bins they give you. If it doesn’t fit, you can take it to a dump for free. If you can’t get it to a dump, your only remaining option is to pay someone to take it away. The only exception, somewhat weirdly, is fridges and freezers which the council will collect for free.

There’s also a bloke who drives round with a truck once every couple of weeks, and he will take just about anything off your hands for free.

To answer the OP, I think lower income people are less likely to take pride in their homes because they don’t own them.

anniereborn's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central sure that would eventually happen. But I have a neighbor behind me that piles up bags of trash on his porch. If it’s not easily seen from the street, people can get away wtih a lot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@KNOWITALL Just their own self esteem. I painted the interior of the house I was renting. My sister belittled me, asking why I bothered. She said it wasn’t like I was going to be able to sell the house! I asked her if they ever painted.
She said “Yes,” of course.
I said, “You planning on moving any time soon?”
She said “No.”
I said, “Then why bother?”
She had no answer for that, except for the same reason I did it….so your surroundings will look nice. So my kids and I will feel like we live in a nice place, not a dump.

@downtide The freezers and fridges have freon in them. Very bad stuff so that’s why the city will collect them.

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III Our landlord told us we were free to paint the walls, as long as we painted them back to the original color before we moved out >.<

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Sure, but you and I are in the minority I’m sure. I planted flowers and got permanent flower beds in, it looked great and made me feel good. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

My landlord was very satisfied with my results. The house was a uniform, neutral color, whereas before each room was painted a different color. Some Satan worshipers had painted the room that I gave to my son. That room was my first priority. Had to KILZ it first. I worked my ASS off in that house!

I know I’m in the minority @KNOWITALL, but it answers the question, “Is trashy all about the money?” NO!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@anniereborn sure that would eventually happen. But I have a neighbor behind me that piles up bags of trash on his porch. If it’s not easily seen from the street, people can get away wtih a lot.
Trashing out a backyard that one controls and has a high wall or fence is another thing, trashing out the park in your neighborhood, the hiking trail, an access alley between 2 or more streets or a wooded area, (no matter how small) near a pod of businesses, etc. where it will be seen is another thing. That is an area everybody will see and have access to if not use when the time comes. It is one thing to toss a busted lamp and VCR in your own backyard and another to toss them in the bushes by the restroom at the local park.

dxs's avatar

On the east side of Providence, the wealthy side, you can complain about your neighbor’s house if it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing to you. It sounds ridiculous, but apparently complaints are taken since they try to keep up the quality of the neighborhood and the property values. So you won’t see any couches, tires, or dishwashers out in anyone’s yard because your obnoxiously pretentious neighbor will snipe you for it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is too much you guys….The City is installing brand new, state of the art, giant potholes in a street that runs next to my house. At least, that’s what it seems they are doing. I walked by my window and had to do a double take…they put a Porta Potty up in my yard! Talk about trashy! LOL! Should I put a sign on it that says, “You can come in the house, guys!” with an arrow pointing to the house? :)
Photobucket is down at the moment, but I’ll post a pic when it comes back up.

Judi's avatar

It’s really all about the CC&R’s.
Affluent neighborhoods usually have covenants conditions and restrictions that mandate you keep the yard, garage your cars, even keep your garage door closed.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Are you suggesting that without CC&Rs those nicer neighborhoods would start having old chairs, busted TVs and such popping up in the park, access ways, etc?

Judi's avatar

It’s possible. I’ve known a few wealthy Junkers in my time.

Kropotkin's avatar

Yes, it’s all about the money. Poverty has profound psychological effects on people. It also affects the mental development of children in poor families.

The poor have lower self-esteem, lower motivation, higher rates of depression, higher rates of suicide, higher levels of stress.

Poor families are generally more dysfunctional, more hostile, and more stressful.

Of course there are some exceptions, but that’s hardly relevant. Considering the various psychological stressors that come with poverty—the disenfranchisement, the hopelessness, the living from hand to mouth, and the constant struggle to pay rent, eat well enough, pay bills, etc It is no surprise that poor neighbourhoods are often poorly maintained and “trashy”.

I’m only surprised that some people—some of whom claim to have been poor—don’t seem to know anything about its realities.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Kropotkin The poor have lower self-esteem, lower motivation, higher rates of depression, higher rates of suicide, higher levels of stress.
And they say money can’t buy happiness, well it sure seems to help if that is factual.

I’m only surprised that some people—some of whom claim to have been poor—don’t seem to know anything about its realities.
I have never had any desire to walk about unbathed, in raggedy clothes, or living in a junk yard when poor. Having no money to take care of the basics can be a drain mentally but that never had any bearing on if I wanted to live around busted furniture or having to wade through ankle deep trash going to the corner market. If self-esteem is measured by how clean on keeps themselves, their homes, and cars (if they have one) everyone should want to be like those neat freaks where nothing is out of place and they can’t stand one spot or visible dust on the glass stemware.

anniereborn's avatar

Well good for you @Hypocrisy_Central
But not everyone is like you (thank goodness)

Judi's avatar

You’re lucky the depression and all those side effects didn’t hit you @Hypocrisy_Central . If you have never experienced it you don’t have a clue what you might do or neglect when the hopelessness hits you.
And when you bought that sofa 10 years ago and struggled to pay it off because the furniture company charged you high interest rates it’s hard to admit that it was really just a piece of shit that lasted two years and fell apart as soon as you got it paid off. You don’t want to admit that so much energy went into something you bought trying to live a better life and it is now dumpster worthy.
I am not a hoarder by any means but I can understand it. When you don’t have much it’s hard to let go of what little you have got and even when you can you need to rent a truck$$ and pay at the dump$$ and you’re working two jobs and the kid has a parent teacher conference and a baseball game tomorrow but that project at the first job might hold you over and child care charges a dollar a minute for every minute your late and the other kid just threw up at school….. Do you think I’m going to prioritize hauling off that stupid sofa on the porch?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t have any clue either.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@dxs I’ll tell you what I respect and admire about R.I. (where I was born and raised). Every vehicle is required to be titled, inspected, registered, and insured. This is a costly and daunting challenge. This also means that driveways and yards aren’t jammed with rusting, derelict automobiles. I can’t recall ever having seen a vehicle hoard in R.I.. The law doesn’t permit it. Chalk-up one for R.I.

I just stripped my elderly mother’s house to the “bones” and fully reconstructed it, interior and exterior. The place looks beautiful, and it’s packed with new central HVAC, appliances, fixtures, floors, walls, dormers, etc. I’ll be lucky if it sells for $180K. Why don’t I buy this beautiful property and live there? Because nothing could make me move back to the state that I gladly left 35 years ago.

But I digress…

anniereborn's avatar

@Judi YES! Exactly!

Seek's avatar

And try $20 every five minutes. Goddamn daycares.

Judi's avatar

@Seek, it’s gone up since I had kids in daycare.

dxs's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I love Rhode Island, too. I was born there. But if that’s the case, they seem to care more about their cars then they do the drivers or the roads. I don’t have my no longer insured license in Rhode Island, but I know that you don’t need insurance to drive a car in RI.
[edit]: Scratch that last part. I was thinking of NH, another place I’ve lived.

Seek's avatar

And clearly not talking to me. I’ve only lived in NYC and Florida.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Dutchess_III The mindset is about poverty ( the lack of money). There are indeed trashy rich folks. But leaving your junk heap in the yard when it breaks down can well be an economic choice. It also requires near regimental discipline in a trash strewn neighborhood to keep your own yard and sidewalk clear, when the opportunity is there for your neighbors to litter. Even here where I live, there is a youth center on the corner 150 yards up the street. Depending on the wind, opening the garage door first thing in the morning must be accompanied with a broom and shovel. It’s a pointless routine on a block where the tiniest little house sold a few months ago for $750,000. A slight breeze and “voila” plastic bags, junk food wrappers etc. I love to whine, but even I realize that there is no greater inducement to depression than endemic poverty. Those littered yards are about matters a bit beyond simple laziness.

dxs's avatar

Oops! I meant @SadieMartinPaul. The one time I don’t take the time to type in the whole name and just enter the first “S” name that comes up.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Judi @stanleybmanly Let me get this straight, because those in low-income or poor neighborhoods, have to work so much for so little, get rooked by the banks and finance companies, are so depressed because they can’t afford things, you are saying that overrides their reason, or thought that to carry that wrapper from their burgers and fries 4 more blocks until they pass the corner store, mall, etc. with a trash can, or another 6 blocks until they get home is too difficult to fathom? Because they have so little money even the small things they can toss simply by passing a trash can and tossing it in like used liquor bottles, food wrappers, old newspapers, small broken toys, etc. get left on the street because they can’t help not to do it? Not having a truck for a sofa is one thing, a small busted toy, food wrappers; empty pack of smokes, etc. is another. How can that be so difficult to dispose of no matter how much or little money one has?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think they’re saying they just don’t care.

Judi's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central,
I own a couple of apartment buildings. One is fairly low income (about $650 a month) and one is higher income (about $1000 a month.)
When it comes to trash the higher income apartments are usually left filthier than the lower income apartments. It’s a sense of entitlement I think.
I was referring to larger items and general upkeep like yard work. Which, I might add, wealthier people hire someone to do.

Seek's avatar

^ And those people are usually living in slummy Suitcase City.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central There’s an aspect of poverty that goes unrecognized, and it is that more often than not the poor are severely restricted when it comes to control of their environment. By this I mean that their choice of neighborhoods and neighbors is pretty much fixed. Which brings up another point regarding this conversation. When we discuss the habits of the poor here, it seems that we ‘re thinking single mom and her kids or perhaps the cast from “Good Times”. The truth is that the single mom or JJ’s family are confined to neighborhoods composed of their financial peers. In other words the big city “poor” consist of not only struggling families, but junkies, winos, the mentally disturbed and armies of homeless derelicts.

anniereborn's avatar

very good points @stanleybmanly
I think another thing might be having a sense of control. One would think keeping things nice and tidy would fill that bill. However if a person is forced to live in a shit hole due to finances/disability/life situation, that’s gonna be hard to do. If someone trashes their living/working/playing areas to one degree or another THAT may make them feel like they have some control instead.

jca's avatar

When I used to work with poor families, it wasn’t unusual to find they threw dirty diapers, soda cans, and empty chip bags into their own yards. It was hard to comprehend.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dirty diapers as litter bothers me more than anything else. I always feel a twinge of worry and sympathy for whatever baby had them on.

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