I've never been a fan of Extreme Makeover. I love seeing the houses transform, but I've always been irritated by their claim to help the lives of people.
Extreme Makeover is for people who have little to no money to fix up their own homes. Extreme Makeover comes in and gives families the finer things of life that they could never afford. While the finer things of life are nice, I always have to wonder how the people who can't even afford repairs on their older, sometimes dilapidated, home will be able to afford the repairs on flat screen TVs, specialized germ-free air units, an outdoor pool, etc. But even before the stuff gets old enough to have to repair, how do the families afford the monthly bills of all of that stuff?
In my little 1400 square foot house, I know electric bills can cost a good bit. If some great TV show came in and turned my small house into a two-story home, complete with all of the bells and whistles, there's no way I could afford even the monthly electric bill!
I've said this for years. My friend tweeted me the other day proving what I had always suspected:
Extreme Makeover Houses in Foreclosure
Though I often enjoy being "right," this makes me sad. I wish someone would have provided me a video link explaining that every home provided through Extreme Makeover came complete with all bills paid for the rest of the adult's life. Instead, families are borrowing against their homes and going into even more debt.
As a society, we have got to think differently. Charity and handouts are not the solution. Sustainable living and long-term solutions are.
Livable wage jobs...quality education...safe neighborhoods...responsive city services...
Anyone want to create a reality show that fights systemic injustices? It's not near as easy and romantic, but the long-term impact sure would make a difference.