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More Innovative Ideas to House the Homeless

Jeff Campbell

Posted on April 22, 2018 07:48

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No, it is not a new program on HGTV, but it is a new pilot program in LA County to help with homelessness.

Homelessness in the United States is an enormous and continuing problem. Nowhere is the plight of the homeless more visible than in Los Angeles California, where an estimated 34,000 people are living on the streets.

Tents, trash piles, shopping carts filled with belongings, and people who cannot afford housing have made for what is being called a humanitarian crisis by the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

The mayor recently announced that nearly 500 million dollars would be spent to provide housing and other needed services for the homeless population. Much of the money will be spent on providing temporary housing, including trailers, and in helping to clean up the mess left behind by the makeshift tent encampments spread across the city.

As reported by the L.A. Times, another way to try and help the homeless with affordable housing is springing up in the form of a new pilot program from Los Angeles County California. The pilot program will pay people to build or put housing units for the homeless in their backyards.

This is literally the opposite of what is known as the “not in my backyard” attitude, where residents block or attempt to block homeless housing or shelters from being built in or near their neighborhoods.

Proponents are hoping that this will prove to be a very unique and cost-effective way to help provide living quarters to the working homeless that will receive vouchers to help pay for their residences. They would also contribute 30% of their income towards the housing.

On the construction front, the project would provide technical aid, help with financing, and provide a streamlined approval process for those that agree to host a family or individual. There is even talk of design competitions that could spur more interest in the test program. Homeless participants would be screened by social services and be provided case management that could include job training and needed counseling.

This is not a completely new idea, as a similar test project has been ongoing in Multnomah County Oregon. There, homeowners are also incentivized to build tiny houses on their property to rent to the homeless. In their case, the homeowners would become landlords, and maintain their units for five years, at which time the they would be free to do what they wanted with the housing structures.

There are many obstacles that will need to be worked out with housing standards, safety concerns, tax, and regulatory issues, but with estimates of total costs being much lower than the equivalent government run shelter bed costs, the idea is intriguing.

I believe there is much to like about the idea. This is local governments, not federal, trying to get creative in a cost-effective way and, at the same time, enlisting we the people, to get directly involved in solving a problem that greatly effects our fellow citizens.

What is wrong with working together, to try and solve the homelessness crisis? Absolutely nothing.

Jeff Campbell

Posted on April 22, 2018 07:48

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There are innumerable perks to living in California, but modestly priced housing is certainly not one of them. It’s undeniable...

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