RCC Honors History Project

Are Tenements Still Around?

Posted by mcelynrh on March 10, 2009

Through Riis’ depiction of the tenements we can see that the living arrangements during the time were atrocious and there was little that the mass of immigrants could do about it because they had no money to better their lives.

Today we still have numerous multitudes of immigrants coming over to America to acquire an improved lifestyle and the American dream. Some migrate with resources such as money to start their own business but countless numbers of immigrants come with very few resources.

Tenements are no longer around but do you think that living conditions are better now? Comparing it with the penthouses, mansions and duplexes we now have that the wealthy buy but don’t even live in.


4 Responses to “Are Tenements Still Around?”

  1. nrohr said

    I think that the living condition Riis describes still exist in America without a doubt. Of course I’d like to think that they don’t, and I don’t know that they do exist on the same scale, or in such a concentrated way, but I think that sickening poverty continues in America and to a greater extent around the world. In our own area, the Duroville trailer park has been in the news lately and is an example of unthinkable living conditions. It is home to many migrant workers and their families, as well as hundreds of wild dogs that roam the trailer park. There is sewage contamination, electrical damage, bad drinking water, and other environmental hazards. The U.S. Attorney General’s office was going to (or did, I can’t remember) issue an order to shut the park down. This of course promises to lead to major displacement and homelessness, but the conditions in the park have been described as dangerous and deadly. Here are a few articles about the situation:




  2. amissi said

    i think that the tenements Riis described are not the same that America has right now, they have changed and modified. when i first came to america, i saw homeless people in los angeles are given food by the state workers, i was surprise because back home if you don’t have a home and can’t afford to buy food then you have no alternative either to be a thief or die because of hunger. i had already seen someone dead because of hunger.

  3. mcelynrh said

    It’s sad to see that with all of the regulations we have and technological advances that sewage contamination, electrical damage, and the others above mentioned still linger. We don’t live in a third world country but definitely parts of America resemble the like. It’s difficult to choose in such a situation because you’re choosing between homelessness and letting people stay there with such atrocious conditions.

    It sounds much like the tenement conditions described in Riis’s book. If the tenements were completely banned several immigrants would lose homes, well they would lack housing because the tenements they lived in look to be far from something someone could call home.

  4. dmcneal347 said

    I agree with Mcelynrh, its sad that this still goes on but how exactly can we make it better for these people? I mean if we try to clean up these homes they live in then their rent is only going to go up and they wont be able to afford it. Is it better to have these people living on the streets or living in decapitating homes?

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