Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Little Pink Pup Tents, For You And Me...

Welcome to Nickelsville, population as many as 1000. That's Nickels, as in hizzonner Seatte Mayor Nickels. He's dealing with the homelessness problem by hassling the homeless so they will what? Leave? I can't say what the wisdom would be. For sure, by catering to the big money developer types and ignoring the perpetually full and woefully inadequate homeless shelters (or is it "shelter" as in singular?) he's earned the name for the squatter town.

I know nobody likes crazy dirty homeless people- particularly if they are nearby. But hey- you religious types need to remember "there but for the grace of God...". Me? I know that these people need help, and very probably the kind of help I'm unable to provide- mental help, drug addiction treatment, etc. I know nothing about these things, but I'm just not as "Grinchy" as the Mayor. I would not make their lot in life worse, and I would try to think up some solutions.

Tell you what I do know, though. We have lots of homeless people sleeping under overpasses and bridges. Guess what else we have a lot of? Shipping containers. Call me crazy, but I think we can work something out here. There are architects and builders doing amazing things with these containers, and I'd bet that you could refit some old 20' boxes into basic shelters cheaply. Matson has a shitload of the smaller containers that they never seem to use, stacked all the hell over their space in Harbor Island. See if they'd like a tax break or charitable credit for donating some of these and move them to a safe place. Maybe even have the homeless donate the labor? You could move them if you had to and not lose anything. Build a handful of them with toilets or showers, and the homeless could get back to being human beings again.

You know- in case that's the goal.



Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I've found that a LOT of people will give eloquent lip service to the homeless problem, but precious few will actually DO anything beyond said flapping of lips to change the situation.

I think your ideas are brilliant.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

Good idea with the shipping containers BUT you know what the problem is? People won't leave well enough alone. First, the homeless will be grateful to have a better box but then will want sanitary services. Which won't be cared for - Someone has to clean them. If there are rules, then automatically some will choose to live elsewhere. Then the wilier of the homeless will set themselves up as king and demand money from the others. And the bullies will make life hell for some. And the weaker will leave the shelters because their shit won't be safe there any more than they are. And so, we will always have some falling through the cracks. And then the dogooders will decide conditions aren't good enough for livestock to live in and better accommodations must be provided. More rules. More will fall out. I don't know what the answer is. Provide safe clean accommodation for those who can deal with it and accept that there will always be some wanderers?

5:04 AM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

We had a homeless bridge dweller living near me where I lived in California.

Every kind donation that wasn't actually food was turned into drunken stupor.

Some people are not meant to be "saved".

It really is the harsh reality.

I think shipping containers would work in Seattle. I don't see how tents and rain are going to get along...

8:20 AM  
Blogger Gordo said...

If they can build apartments out of shipping containers, there's no reason why they can't be used for this, Stucco.

It won't happen, though. Toronto had a tent city a few years ago. It lasted for more than a year, too. Until the mayor got tired of it and had the cops clear it.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the spriit...

2:43 PM  
Blogger TTQ said...

When I lived in Ft. Lauderdale they also had a place called tent city where the homeless could sleep and have like make-shift homes. Until the new fantastic shelter was finished. They also got to sell newspapers on the corner and keep the money. The newspapers set that up and the city agreed. Oh and if you wanted out of Ft. Lauderdale you could be issued a free bus ride outta town preferably to another state. (not my thought)

4:36 PM  
Blogger Irrelephant said...

The problem being, Stucco, there's no PROFIT in helping the homeless. No bucks to be wrung from their desperate hands, no way to climb on their backs to get even higher.

Gotta love Capitalism.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

"The problem being, Stucco, there's no PROFIT in helping the homeless. No bucks to be wrung from their desperate hands, no way to climb on their backs to get even higher.

Gotta love Capitalism."

Actually, you get far fewer "homeless" in a Capitalistic system. Didn't the USSR teach you anything? China before it opened its markets to capitalism?

The real question might be, how many homeless advocates take a homeless person home with them? Go on, y'all know ya got the space for a fold-away in the corner!

The real problem is either substance abuse or profound psychological disorders for many.

People who are just down on their luck actually have a lot of resources available to them, including welfare and housing subsidies.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Vulgar Wizard said...

I like this idea; works in theory.

I've got to agree with some of the arguments presented above, if for no other reason that from what I've seen locally after the recent hurricanes. Some people expect more and more and more when you help them a little. Some people who are on some kind of public assistance EXPECT more and more handouts with no intention of improving their lot in life. I get tired of that mentality, and unfortunately, I see it almost 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Still, this is an interesting idea; and I'd have to say that a shipping container would make me feel much better than a Pepto pink pup tent. Those are friggin' ugly. Why pink? They figure they won't go missing if they're not attractive or something?

10:11 AM  

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