We’ve all passed them — the houses with the paint peeling, cracks in the foundation, window sills rotting, the whole decrepit pile screaming the word ‘broken.’

And we are condemning of the occupants. We dismiss them contemptuously as poor—a crime in the society of the over-privileged—or as scroungers with their heads too far into the beer bottle to care about themselves, much less their premises. We never realize the occupants of the place, sometimes old-age pensioners, can do no better and government indifference is not the only reason. Sometimes the scroungers on that fixed-income are either housing or supporting an adult child, subsidizing or paying their bills, including the rent on an apartment.