A Houston-area apartment renter and mother asks: “Where is my apartment door?”

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Poor apartment renter asks: Where is the father of your kids?

In the Sunday, December 8th 2013 fish wrap edition of the Houston Chronicle, the editors ran a front-page story featuring a 27 year old woman with three children, ages nine, eight, and two, who said that the door to her apartment in the Sharpstown area was removed, forcing her to sleep, with no door to her apartment, in the wintry weather that finally struck Texas last week. The woman, Jacqueline Green, also expressed fears that living in an apartment with no front door also created a major safety issue, as anybody could have walked right into her apartment at any time. Supposedly, the management of the complex had stripped the front door off Ms. Greene’s apartment because she was more than two months in arrears on her $593 per month rent.

The Chronicle story goes into a discussion of issues surrounding the apartment complex, Villa de Cancun, describing the 329-unit complex as being in shabby condition and the subject of numerous complaints made to authorities. The property has been sued for payment of back taxes, while the property owners and management in turn have sued the Harris County Appraisal District over the assessed value of the property.

In this world of seeming squalor live Ms. Greene and her three small children. Amidst the arguing over the legalities of having the door of her apartment removed (which is against the Texas Property Code), there was no discussion at all in the article over Ms. Greene herself and the fact that she had three kids with no mention of any father figure in the picture. The story goes on about how Ms. Greene suffered the misfortune of going through bouts of unemployment, until she bagged a temporary job with “the city” (of Houston, we presume). That’s nothing unusual for people to go through, as I myself had a tough time when I was in my twenties. My own experience of how hard it was for me to get by on the low pay I earned scarred me for years afterwards. There were times when I was in my twenties that it seemed I didn’t have a future, and it affected my decision not to get married or have children. If I could scarcely keep my own head above water, what business did I have getting married or bringing kids into this world?

Such considerations, however, don’t seem to have fazed Ms. Greene. Where is the father of her kids? I can understand that she may have had dating or marital problems, but even if she did, there is someone out there who does not appear to be doing much to help the woman whom he got pregnant. And yes, there is an issue when people start screaming about abortion, or that it isn’t the government’s business getting into the bedroom and so on, but then turn around and start shouting that poor single mothers need financial help, taxpayer-funded transit, taxpayer-funded schooling, taxpayer-funded health care, food stamps, and so on.

One of the biggest social issues of our time is not the question of gay marriage or gay rights. Rather, it is the breakdown of the marital family. Considering the situation that Ms. Greene is in, it is doubtful that her kids are going to be able to break the grip of the childhood they were born into. The Heritage Foundation notes that the single best weapon to combat childhood poverty is marriage, with childhood poverty dropping by over 80 percent in maritally intact families. The flip side of this issue is that the percentage of children born to married mothers has dropped from 95 percent during the 1930 – 1960 era, to 60 percent today. And yes, that drop did coincide with the growth of the reach of federal programs that were supposed to combat evils like this. There is a strong argument to be made that the so-called Great Society-era programs have caused the problem they were supposed to alleviate. Nor is the issue of poverty something that belongs to the past, with the lefties jumping up and down about raising the minimum wage, making demands to raise the wages of fast food workers to $15 per hour,  and with President Obama using the White House microphone to talk about inequality.

And so it goes.  Note – I cannot stress enough that this has nothing to do with race! There isn’t much I can personally do to help Ms. Greene, other than to try to figure out a way to generate more wealth than I have, and to continue to give money to private charity groups that are supposed to help people like her. But her situation is a stark reminder that to a large degree, we do make the beds that we – and our children – end up lying in.


  1. I wonder what it says about the new editor’s priorities that this story, by a reporter with the title “The Houston Advocate,” was the top story on the front page of the Sunday Houston Chronicle — effectively featured as the most important story of the week!

  2. You guys still read print editions?? Wow!
    (I know … I’m being snarky!)

    The emphasis on intact families, including BOTH parents, is a major drum that Rick Santorum beats on, and he’s right, of course. I know what happened to me — twice — and the only thing that saved me and my kids was my teaching credential. I am so thankful that both my children are in stable, long-term marriages, raising my grandkids just fine. I know they may be in a minority in this country soon, if they aren’t already.


  3. Is it cold up there on that pedestal? The door was removed from her apartment. There are legal ways to deal with tenants but those cost money. Would knowing where the kids’ father is make you feel any differently about that? Taxpayers fund a *lot* of questionable activities and taking a stand on welfare is starting way too small.

    • The issue is NOT welfare. It is the destruction of the American family unit, by “Great Society” gubmint projects. This intentional fostering of abject dependency has come close to achieving a total breakdown of American civil liberties.

    • ** The door was removed from her apartment. There are legal ways to deal with tenants but those cost money. **

      According to the story, there is a lock-out option that is perfectly legal:

      Mintz, with the state apartment association, said that landlords have options under the Texas Property Code – besides proceeding with evictions – to work out payments with tenants. One is a lock-out process that usually convinces an evasive renter to discuss the owned money.

      In all honesty, that would seem like a much more effective (and legal!) policy, and I don’t know why the apartment complex wouldn’t have just used that option.

      However “bad” this apartment complex may be, though, I don’t think they should be expected indefinitely to house squatters who don’t pay their rent. They aren’t running a homeless shelter.

      Neal Meyer was obviously addressing a much larger issue.

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