The first Fetch strip of the new year is a downer. This past week here in Portland we have seen two people die of hypothermia (this story  was the initial inspiration for the strip; this weekend another person died,  too). We have a lot of warming shelters  in the area, but the real issue is one of housing. We don’t view adequate housing for people as a necessity or a social priority; we view it as a profit making business just like anything else. Property management companies have been buying up apartment buildings and complexes, jacking up rents, and evicting families who can’t afford the dramatic spike in their living expenses. I suppose someone might suggest that there is some “moral hazard” in providing affordable housing to the poor (or not even the poor, how about middle class who have become vulnerable to “disruptions” and “dislocations” in their livelihoods?); but I am willing to risk it in the face of people freezing to death.

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