Unraveling the Complex Tapestry of Poverty: SAB Center’s Sociological Research Approach

Poverty is not a static force; it ebbs and flows, influenced by economic factors that, in turn, can be impacted by poverty. Its tendrils extend into realms of politics, global wealth, finance, trades, and geopolitics. Central to this dynamic interplay are housing and food, two critical conditions that can determine an individual’s health, mental stability, happiness, and industrial vigor.

The Council of Economic Advisers’ 2019 report on the state of homelessness in America sheds light on the intricate relationship between housing regulations and homelessness rates. Deregulating 11 metropolitan areas with constrained housing markets could potentially reduce overall homelessness in the United States by 13%. However, merely expanding the supply of homeless shelters could exacerbate the housing crisis.

The correlation between homelessness and the cost of housing is evident on maps comparing the overall homeless population to home price-to-income ratios. The Visual Capitalist map illustrating how many hours Americans need to work to pay their mortgages underscores the burdens of cost-burdened housing.

The SAB Center’s upcoming demonstration program aims to delve into the sociological underpinnings of poverty and homelessness. With researchers residing on-site independently from the tenant researchers, the program seeks to understand and address the nuanced economic factors contributing to homelessness. By involving artists, designers, and re-homed homeless individuals in managing shared spaces, gardens, farms, and nature preserves, the SAB Center aims to explore how a sense of beauty can reshape economic factors.

The program envisions a revolution in the appearance of school grounds and buildings, inspired by Maud Barnett’s advocacy during the progressive era. Researchers will assess how aesthetics, self-sufficiency, and happiness can rationalize housing costs, leaving room for essential needs. The focus is not solely on monetary poverty but on the deprivation of rights to quality in housing, food, clothing, and occupations.

As California stands at a similar poverty rate to the entire United States, the demonstration program, featuring in-residence researchers, becomes crucial in comprehensively evaluating the sociological impact of housing costs. By measuring this impact on a human level, the SAB Center aims to unravel the intricate tapestry of poverty and pave the way for transformative solutions