For the past year, I’ve lived in community either with the gang at Valhalla or at the various Eco-villages I’ve visited on my travels. Living in community can mean sharing a house, a neighbourhood or an entire village. No matter what kind of community you live in, you’re guaranteed to have a crazy experience and here’s why!
1) You’re Surrounded By People Who Share Similar Values
When you build or join the community that’s right for you, you surround yourself with people who care about the same things, share the same ideas and are co-creating similar projects as you. Your neighbours become people who have so much in common with you that you look forward to talking to them on a regular basis.
2) So Much To Learn, So Much To Teach
Being surrounded by people with similar values creates space for sharing. The opportunity to learn about new things is endless, and you get to share what you know to people who are really interested. To top it off, when all these ideas mix, you come up with new ideas that couldn’t have been figured out on your own!
3) You Connect To People On A Deep Level
In community, you quickly learn to treat everyone around you as a member of your close family. You open up to people like you’ve never expected to open up before. This leads to a very deep connection to many other human beings (whereas usually we are only connected to our direct family, significant others and close friends).
When you’re having a hard time, you’re surrounded by people who love you and are connected to you. People who will give you the moral support you need to get past anything and grow!
4) You Push Each Other For The Better
You become so connected to the members of your community that you want every single one of them to grow and thrive on every possible level. If you need support in having a healthier lifestyle, a more self-empowered attitude, in following your greatest passion, or in a higher education, you will always have people around you who will gladly push you to do it. They may even take on the challenge with you!
5) You Find Teammates Easily For Projects You Want To Start
Have you dreamed of brewing your own beer? Wanna figure out how to build a homemade solar heater? Wanna go on a walk in the woods and find wild mushrooms? Or start a band? You’ll most likely find people in your community who would love to do it with you! You could easily juggle a few projects with different people within the community if you really want to.
6) There’s Always Something Fun Going On
Whatever it is you find fun, whether it’s just hanging out around a fire or playing a sport. There’s always someone or a group of people doing something fun. Bored? Just look/ask around and you’ll find them for sure!
7) You Count On Your Community
Whenever you need someone to take over some responsibility (The kids, your home, anything really) you have tons of people who love you so much that they’ll gladly do it for you. And since there’s so many people involved, it won’t be a huge weight on anyone. At Valhalla we’re constantly asking each other for help. We each have our skill sets and know that the favor would be passed on someone else.
8) Your Expenses Will Lower
Some of your needs cost less because you get it in bulk for the community. Others will come from within the community, whether it’s goods or services. This gives you more time to enjoy and appreciate life!
9) It’s Great Therapy
Living in community can be difficult at first, so many different personalities that all get upset over different things. As you get to know everyone better, not only will you learn more about how people like to be treated, you will notice what it is that causes you to feel in specific ways. Community is a place where personal growth happens at a much faster rate! And when you come out of it, you find yourself to be much more comfortable with yourself and around other people.
10) You Make Friends For Life
Whether you choose to stay in a specific community for a year or forever, you’ll be making friends for life. Living in community creates experiences that bring people together and you’ll have great memories of the good and the bad!
daily alternative | alternative news – 10 Reasons Why You Want To Live In A Community
The Huge Racial Injustice Hidden in Our Credit Scores
Worried about the use of big data for corporate gain? Look not further than the credit scoring system in the US, which has profound impact on our daily lives and is a source and perpetuator of systemic racial injustice.
In response to aggressive marketing by the “big three” multinational credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – employers, landlords and insurance companies now use credit reports and scores to make decisions that have major bearing on our social and economic opportunities. These days, your credit history can make or break whether you get a job or apartment, or access to decent, affordable insurance and loans.
Credit reports and scores are not race neutral. Rather, they embed existing racial inequities in our credit system and economy – to the point that a person’s credit information serves as a proxy for race.
For decades, banks have systematically redlined black and Latino neighborhoods, refusing to make conventional loans or locate branches in non-white and lower-income areas, notwithstanding laws that obligate banks to meet the credit needs of all communities they serve, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. Thanks to financial services deregulation and the advent of asset-backed securitization, a multi-billion dollar “fringe” financial system has filled the void, characterized by high-cost, destabilizing products and services, from payday loans to check-cashers – which banks typically also own or finance.
People and communities of color have been disproportionately targeted for high-cost, predatory loans, intrinsically risky financial products that predictably lead to higher delinquency and default rates than non-predatory loans. As a consequence, black people and Latinos are more likely than their white counterparts to have damaged credit.
This firmly-entrenched two-tiered financial system has had devastating consequences for entire neighborhoods of color. Starting in the 1990s, financial institutions began flooding historically-redlined neighborhoods with predatory mortgages that ultimately led to the meltdown of the global economy. Waves of foreclosures hammered neighborhoods of color for more than a decade before the crash and black and Latino Americans bore the brunt of the ensuing foreclosure crisis, recession and spiking unemployment. Droves of people turned to high-rate credit cards to cover even basic expenses, contributing to the consumer debt crisis and spawning a bottom-feeding debt-buying industry that purchases old debts on the cheap and then uses the courts to extract judgments disproportionately from people and communities of color. These judgments are then listed in their credit reports, which also brings down their credit scores, in turn limiting a whole range of opportunities.
Although Wall Street is no longer pumping toxic mortgages into black and Latino neighborhoods, people and neighborhoods of color continue to reel from the foreclosure crisis, which many predict is far from over. Meanwhile, racially discriminatory and subprime auto lending are on the rise, payday lenders continue to extract billions of dollars from low-wage workers, and student loan debt has surpassed the trillion dollar mark. One in five Americans has unpaid medical debt, with more than half of all African-Americans and Latinos carrying medical debt on their credit cards. By definition, people who take payday loans and have uninsured medical debt are struggling, and are likely to miss payments. Missed payments translate into decreased credit scores.
This information – unpaid medical and credit card debt, student loans, and mortgages, as well as foreclosures, bankruptcies, debt collection judgments, wage garnishments – appears on people’s credit reports and lowers their credit scores. And the credit bureaus make humongous profits by selling this information about all of us.
In New York City, a coalition of labor, community and civil rights groupsrecently won the strongest ban on employment credit checks in the country. It’s a major economic justice victory, but we know it’s just a first step. We knocked down this discriminatory barrier because there is no demonstrated connection between a person’s credit history and his or her likely job performance or character. Credit checks can also block applicants with no or “thin” credit histories, including many students and immigrants. Rather, using credit information to make hiring decisions – or to rent apartments, set insurance terms, or extend credit – is a clear way to perpetuate inequality, poverty and segregation.
Credit reports and scores are mirrors of our manifestly two-tiered financial system, and more broadly our system of racial wealth inequality and unequal opportunity. In our culture, indebtedness – and certainly failure to pay one’s debts – is deeply entwined with concepts of morality. The insidious notion that our credit history speaks to our reliability as human beings is largely taken for granted.
The credit bureaus and the information they sell have out-sized influence over our lives. It’s time to stop these pernicious practices and the systemic injustices that underlie them.
daily alternative | alternative news – The Huge Racial Injustice Hidden in Our Credit Scores
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