There's a high profile homelessness "expert" who is against these tiny houses that are popping up all over the country for homeless people.
Barbara Poppe, who coordinated federal homelessness policy for most of Barack Obamas presidency, said she believes the development of slums is a real risk and that some of the ramshackle camps used for homeless people are completely deplorable.
She's going around the country as a consultant telling people not to set up tiny home villages for homeless people. Her mantra is: Just construct permanent affordable housing.
That's from this article: Tiny houses: salvation for the homeless or a dead end? | US news | The Guardian
Let's say a magic unicorn appears from the land of Free Houses For Everyone. This unicorn can just nod it's beautiful spiral horn and up pops instant housing for every single homeless person that needs it. And not only does this unicorn create this housing today, it just keeps creating housing over and over again as people fall into homelessness. (I'm not really sure what land Magic Housing Unicorn is going to get for its magic houses. Maybe it can create a rip in the space time continuum where it can actually build houses right over existing houses. So two or more universes can coexist at the same time. I'm not totally up on how Magic Housing Unicorn operates. It just is going to work, that's all you need to know.)
I'm glad we have intellectual elitists flying around the country promoting magic unicorn ideologies. Because then it lets us imagine how that will actually play out.
I'm assuming you spend a night in your car and Magic Housing Unicorn creates you a house instantly out of thin air. That's going to be nice.
Do you know what's in the backyard of one of our houses right now? 2 campers. One that you put on the back of your pickup truck and one that you tow.
Shit like that appears constantly in my backyard.
We once housed a single person that brought home enough junk that required me to rent 2 40 yard dumpsters (at $500 a piece) to clean up all the crap he would bring home night after night of scavenging other people's dumpsters.
I am an auctioneer. I've seen a lot of hoarders. But some of the homeless are the worst hoarders I've ever seen in my life. They hoard broken bottles, broken toys, filthy clothes, shopping carts. Just straight up junk that seemed amazing in a crazed, meth-induced high. It's truly endless what some of these people think are treasures.
I can't count the number of dumpsters I've had to get to clean out stuff some homeless people have brought into my building and land at 15 Broad Street. It's truly unfathomable.
I'm currently renting the largest storage unit U-Haul offers just so I could convince homeless people to let me remove things from my building.
So, here's the deal: in Barbara Poppe's Magic Housing Unicorn world you are going to have to have a Magic Dumpster Unicorn too (and probably Magic Storage Unicorn) because here's the thing: you can't kick these people out of the housing created for the homeless. If you do then they are homeless again and Magic Housing Unicorn is going to have to create another house for them. Magic Housing Unicorn is going to get tired.
Do you see? These crazy hoarders aren't doing anything that will allow us to either kill them or put them in jail the rest of their lives. So we are going to have to house them. Otherwise they are going to be homeless that will require housing.
You are going to need to hire endless dumpsters and endless labor to go into these houses and constantly clean out the endless hoarding items some of these people are going to bring into their homes and on their property night after night after night.
And this is the easy issue.
Let's talk about all the Magic Housing Unicorn Trap Houses we're going to need to run.
A trap house is hell on earth. It's a house of violence, drugs and decay. I know. I have run one.
You can run your own trap house really easy too. It's just one easy step. Here's how you do it: Decide you are going to house an active drug user.
You only need one active drug user and everything else will take care of itself. You will have your own glorious trap house in no time at all.
People in the throws of addiction are notorious liars, cheats, thieves and have no moral compass AT ALL. Now, I'm stereotyping here. This is not the case for all drug users. But this is a very high percentage of drug users. It's just a fact. But you said there was going to be housing for everyone in the Magic Housing Unicorn "Housing First" utopia. So these people will need housing too.
These drug users are also easy push overs. Just wave a little baggy of meth in front of their face and they will instantly go into a trance and do anything for that bag of meth. I'm talking about straight guys sucking dick. I'm talking about jamming needles in their neck that they just pulled out of the trash. I'm talking about letting ANYONE move into their house that has one of these little baggies. As fast as you can throw out an unwanted "guest" in your house another one will arrive overnight. It's like you signed up for the Amazon Prime free delivery of endless drug addicts arriving at your house day after day after day.
So, one drug user will quickly multiply into countless drug users. They'll all start moving into the house. Dishes will pile up. Flies will start coming. Shitty furniture will appear in the living room from over night pilfering escapades. Junk will pile up all throughout the house and spill out into the yard. Needles will end up all over your house and your property because some of these people are too fucking lazy to throw their needles in the sharps container.
And that's not the worst of it.
Then the drug dealers come.
Most drug dealers are evil, brutal and completely devoid of any code whatsoever. These aren't like the cool drug dealers you see on TV like Breaking Bad. No. Those people, believe it or not, would be a dream. Or the "good guy" drug dealers in the new HBO show Euphoria. I would be ecstatic if those people would move into our neighborhood.
Our drug dealers will find the smallest, weakest person they can find, gang up on him 4 people deep and do the most evil shit you can imagine to him. Real life drug dealers are the Webster dictionary definition of "Pieces of Shit."
These people are going to end up in your house.
You see... they are the people that have the actual drugs.
I've been ratted out to drug dealers (from people that love to tell me they aren't snitches) because I called the cops on them. Drug addicts will do ANYTHING for a drug dealer. So, if a drug dealer wants to start selling drugs in your house: no problem. That definitely will be happening.
But we now live in Magic Housing Unicorn "Housing First" utopia. So, you are now going to have to risk your life trying to get drug dealers out of your house. They'll kill you for much lesser offenses. Personally, I would probably start my own gang. The police will only show up in time to clean up your dead body off your floor. You are going to need your own muscle.
I don't know who is going to be lucky enough to draw the short straw of running trap houses. But I'm pretty sure it's going to end with you either in jail or dead. So, have fun with that.
LONG LIVE HOUSING FIRST!!!!
I like drug addicts. I like spending time with them. I like learning their stories. And I also like doing the hard thing. I would love to house drug addicts.
But there is no way in hell I'm doing it.
Every person in our houses is required to be involved in drug treatment. If you don't do the drug treatment you are getting kicked out of the house. If I find so much as a needle cap in your room I'm throwing you out of the house.
Having a house slip into becoming a trap house is the easiest thing on earth. As much as I like many of the drug addicts I know there is no way in HELL I'm housing them.
"Professionals" would often chastise our tent village because it was making things too easy for these people. If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is. In Magic Housing Unicorn "Housing First" utopia everyone gets a free house. They can hoard. They can invite all their friends over. And even if they do something illegal, they will only be in jail for a while. You'll have to house them when they get out.
That's the cold hard truth of it.
You need levels of shelter.
Sheltering needs to be a meritocracy. Otherwise the outcome is chaos.
You need tents in the woods and other isolated places for people who don't want to change their drug habits or can't stop hoarding or can't control their anger issues.
Then you need villages with tents or tiny houses, if you can afford them, for people that are ready to start re-engaging with society. These people are the ones that want to work on their addictions and their mental health issues.
Then you need transitional houses for people that have quit drugs and are controlling their mental health issues and are generating income somehow.
Then you need actual housing.
Otherwise, your housing first utopia will instantly fall into a dystopia of unimaginable chaos.
But here's the thing: And this is important!
No matter how much of an asshole a person might be. No matter how difficult they are to work with. EVERY PERSON NEEDS SOME SORT OF SHELTER.
EVERY PERSON NEEDS SOME SORT OF SHELTER.
EVERY PERSON NEEDS SOME SORT OF SHELTER.
EVERY PERSON NEEDS SOME SORT OF SHELTER.
Perfect is the enemy of good enough.
We don't have a Magic Housing Unicorn. The truth is we'll never have enough affordable housing, much less free housing for all the people with no income.
11 million Americans (roughly the population of New York City and Chicago combined) spend more than half their paycheck on rent.
There is not ONE SINGLE county in the nation that a renter working 40 hours a week and earning minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment.
These cold, staggering statistics shake out on the bottom with people living on the street.
I don't care what pedigree you have. I don't care what initials you have next to your name. You are a complete and total elitist, snob asshole if you tell people they have to live unsheltered because a tent or a "shack" isn't good enough. Intellectual elitism is for rich people. Homeless people need a tent.