Monday, March 26, 2018
I want to express the dire need to get the homeless off the street by describing a new kind of housing that maybe our elected local officials can understand - I call it "Permanent Subsistence Housing" (PSH). I'll try to describe it here as simply as I can. Let's begin.
PERMANENT SUBSISTENCE HOUSING (PSH). We define it by what it REQUIRES. The requirements below do not have to be in place all at once. They can be added ONE AT A TIME, IN RANDOM ORDER, IF NECESSARY. A plan is required, however, to eventually get to supplying all human subsistence requirements as listed below.
R1. Private bathroom with shower and all necessary associated items, like towels, soap, hot water, toilet, shower, etc.
R2. Safe, private sleeping space, with all associated items, such as bedding, pillow, etc.
R3. Lockable, private storage space which keeps private possessions safe while person is away from PSH.
R4. Food storage and preparation space, with all associated items, such as rodent-proof food storage, cooking space, pots, pans, plates, etc.
R5. Secure trash storage and regular pick up service.
R6. Right to the PSH. The right to be at one particular PSH, or moved to another PSH. This is trickier. Once moved into a PSH, the person cannot be kicked out of a PSH except for some very stringent criteria for dismissal. Note that the PSH may be moved from place to place, but it must be within a reasonable distance of the geographic location where the person has roots.
R7. Common area of PSH, where all PSH residents can congregate, with routine quiet hours in that space.
R8. All spaces at PSH require "probably cause" that a crime has been committed before law enforcement can enter these spaces, just like a private residence.
R9. All residents much contribute in some way to the common good of the PSH, based on their abilities (yes, communism it is!).
R10. Everything at the PSH is done according to the law, but when the law does not permit people to exist, the law must be changed. In the interim, emergency decrees shall be declared to permit people to exist, even if it doesn't comply with current law (think "emergency situation", like a disaster of some sort, where many people are displaced from their homes, and must have somewhere to go - the government has no restrictions in these situations).
We also define what is OPTIONAL but highly desired.
O1. Coping services, such as counseling, mental health services, job training, etc. As long as the person meets the behavioral rules of R6, these "Coping Services" are optional.
O2. Community work space, such as communal work activities, communal gardens for raising food items, etc.
O3. No PSH resident can own a car. Instead, the facility should have electric bicycles and tri-cycles, and be near a local transportation hub, such as a bus stop.
SO WHAT DOES THIS ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE?
A campground could meet all these requirements.
A tent city at a public park, with access to ports-potties and a paid membership at a health club for showering, and with a cook tent and social center tent (like Mt. Everest base camp) could meet all these requirements.
So could a co-operative housing facility, like the Co-op in Westwood where I once worked and lived http://www.uchaonline.com
So could college style dorms.
And tiny home villages. https://www.thespruce.com/livable-tiny-house-communities-3984833
SO WHAT DOES IT NOT LOOK LIKE?
It doesn't look like "Affordable Housing" priced at $350,000 - $650,000.
It doesn't look like a development, where 12% of the units (or pick your percentage - 2%, 5%, 55% - it doesn't matter) are for "affordable housing".
It doesn't expect people to be something they are not, and may never be. In the short term, some people just aren't going to turn into something that society wants them to be - though they should be given the opportunity to do so.
Its not a homeless shelter (or a "Temporary Emergency Housing", as I like to call it - those are for people who become homeless when they didn't expect to, like losing your job and getting evicted, hiding from spousal abuse, or becoming disabled because of an accident and trying to live off disability payments.
It doesn't appeal to middle class, upper middle class or high income earners - they won't want to live here - they already have a place to live; the "affluent" won't move in, scoop up PSH housing, and move in, or treat it as a "vacation home" - PSH exists purely to house people with nowhere else to go in a way that is more humane that what we are doing today, which is not much (statistically).
PSH does not require food to be provided - the community will provide food for themselves by whatever means necessary.
I kept this as simple as possible. Maybe more people will "get it". We have to ask ourselves - "are we our brothers keeper?" - I think we are. Peace.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
This article was written for Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima, in celebrating of the 200th year of their "Manuel Vargas" mission bell, cast in Peru in 1818. There is a special display in the Mission's visitors center commemorating this anniversary.
Much information has survived from the mission era, but the internal discussions and trade-offs by the padres related to their mission and their bells seldom survived to the present day. We do know how important the missions bells were to the lives of the Franciscans, as they often described their life as “living completely under the bells”. Today, we are left with speculation and intuition as to the story of each of California’s mission’s bells.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
This page is dedicated to links to California projects to achieve these objectives that have (or are) being implemented, and could be undertaken with success here on the Central Coast, should there be the political will to do so.
Are they "perfect" solutions? No. Do "perfect" solutions exist? No. So what are these? Solutions that are working, and create housing for the homeless, and affordable housing for the low wage worker. Happy reading.
When the links may "disappear" over time, I have copied the article (in part) so that you will have some idea of its contents. Happy reading!
2018.01: Trailers for the Homeless in Downtown Los Angeles Lot
Los Angeles city leaders are planning to house dozens of homeless people in trailers on a city-owned downtown lot as a possible model for citywide temporary shelters.
Monday, October 2, 2017
SAN LUIS OBISPO: I know this 74 year old homeless woman from volunteering at the homeless shelter. I recently saw her on the street, where I stopped to talk to her. She told me she had recently gotten kicked out of the Maxine Lewis Memorial (homeless) shelter in SLO. She didn't know why they kicked her out.