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Re: Okay, I'll bite - What happened in Atlanta (NT)

Posted by nick on January 21, 1999 at 01:08:29:

In Reply to: Okay, I'll bite - What happened in Atlanta (NT) posted by MikeW on January 20, 1999 at 14:57:16:

What happened in Atlanta?

visit the Rentwatchers site at www.rw.apana.org.au for a fuller description.

Our understanding (relayed by one of your wonderful housing activists
on a trip to Australia) is that the first Olympic related construction
job finished was a jail!
This jail was used to house all those embarassingly homeless people for the
period of the games.

How was this achieved?
Atlanta instituted "anti-camping" laws, which were used to remove homeless
people from the streets in the period immediately before the games.
Because these people had committed an offence, they were given custodial
sentences.
Usually these sentences were about a month - conveniently coinciding with
the Olympics time.
I suppose one view could be that at least the homeless were housed and fed
for a while, but you'd have to wonder if criminalising homeless people is
really an effective social policy.

There were other, more subtle things reported. Some of these are already
occurring in Sydney such as the re-fit of all public benches so that there
is an arm rest every 3 feet, so no-one can lie down on them.
Money well spent? - we think not.

The other main impact of the games was to hype up the rental prospects of
landlords. Rents rose. Local people on low fixed incomes had their housing
costs inflate to unaffordability.
Gullible home-owning residents, who were convinced by real estate agents
that they would make heaps renting out their properties to Olympic guests,
were generally disappointed when Atlanta's Hotel Industry (Atlanta is a
conference town I believe) was able to cope.

Don't get me wrong, the Olympics are a wonderful thing. Sydney is so lucky.
Sport is probably the pinnacle of human achievement etc, etc.

I just don't see why the people who are least able to participate in the
benefits, should also be the people to bear the brunt of the adverse effects
as well.

Call me old-fashioned, but I find something vaguely obscene about that.

nick

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