There was no plan on how to manage or house these immigrants. Initially the tenements were a blessing since they were the only areas in the city which the immigrants or the working-class poor could afford. Eventually however this came to be deemed a business opportunity. Older houses became of more values because of their potential as tenement houses, as the book describes
“large rooms were partitioned into several smaller ones, without regard to light or ventilation, the rate of rent being lower in proportion to space or height from the street; and they soon became filled from cellar to garret with a class of tenantry ……………. squalid as beggary itself.”( Riis A Jacob ‘How the Other Half Lives-Studies Among the Tenements of New York’ )
The immigrants wanted to live near the main city area and the tenement owners exploited this opportunity. The rooms were impossibly small and hardly anything was spent on maintaining the building or making it even slightly more livable. The poverty of the immigrants, many of whom had come with very little from their country made these tenements acceptable to them and the fear of being asked to leave incapacitated them from asking for improvements or even lower rents. Therefore these tenements were a consequence of poverty. However the sin, the disease and the apathy they bred are also causes of poverty.
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