03 February 2010

Mortgage Meltdowns and Snow Storms

Some days I feel that my seminar class doesn't really relate to the rest of my college career. Ok, most days I feel that it doesn't relate. I spend the majority of time here in DC talking about community, civic engagement, gentrification, poverty, and housing. These topics aren't usually on the docket of your typical history major. Being the liberal arts student that I am, I try to make connections. Today for example, we were discussing the mortgage meltdown and housing policy. I was able to use my background in history to relate the current situation to that of the 1930s and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies. Up until then, there was no housing policy. The Roosevelt administration encouraged home ownership as well as affordable housing. It was at this time that Public Housing Authorities were created. The federal government gave money to local governments to build housing for those who couldn't afford it. However, it was only meant to be temporary and was intended for widows and the elderly. FDR's encouragement of home ownership ended up contributing to the mortgage meltdown of the early 2000's. All Americans wanted to own their own home. This led to the expansion of the mortgage market -- an expansion that went much too far.

Essentially, my seminar class is more a lesson in life than it is a lesson in academia. While I might sometimes think that it isn't relevant to my life, I know that deep down it truly is. Even if it's only relevance is that I will one day have a home of my own, and that home of my own will be in a community. All of the topics that we discuss will never go away. They will continue to be pressing issues for the rest of our lives.

So the amazing weather I was bragging about has disappeared -- gone AWOL. It's snowed twice in the past week, and --prepare yourselves for this one -- it is supposed to snow 20+ inches this weekend! Goodbye 60 degree days filled with sunshine, hello Antarctica!

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