The third world of the U.S.

Per chance, you’ve seen the occasional news story of a U.N. trip to a third-world country where investigators probe squalid living conditions.

Now there is here, according to the Guardian. The U.N.’s Raquel Rolnik is preparing a report on the U.S. housing crisis. The U.N. special rapporteur had been blocked from touring the U.S. by the Bush administration.

“I was shocked when I realised that the US, and countries in Europe – England – as well, had a solid housing policy for many years that worked pretty well. That was dismantled and the situation became worse throughout the nineties. Then we had this financial crisis and a real crisis in housing. It’s all tied together,” she said.

“But I didn’t expect to see what I have seen. In some ways the situation is worse than I expected.”

She traveled to New York, Chicago, New Orleans, South Dakota, and Los Angeles to chronicle housing woes.

Rolnik admits there’s nothing she can do about the problem other that to publicize it in hopes someone will pressure the U.S. government to change things.