Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday, 6 MAY 2016 :: Checking in and catching up with everything

You might think I don't really care about shelter issues, but you would be wrong.  I have been spending a lot of time with social media, commenting on Facebook (FB) and linking to articles, getting emails from housing organizations, and working on my own designs for affordable home purchasing instead of renting.  I just haven't been able to post anything.  Mostly, I have been trying to decide the best way to use my time and energy for all the things I care about.

Today I posted a very long entry at a local organization that deals with homeless issues and provides an income option through the sale of newspapers.  It is called Street Roots (in Portland OR, USA).  -- Local officials have committed a wad of money to affordable housing and I was responding to a post about those issues.

Homelessness is not like the needs of a sudden disaster... it is ongoing and often has "repeat offenders" for various reasons, from lack of income to drug issues and prison release. Is anyone at SR keeping tabs on the issues at the local government level? (Like vendors, I mean) How that money gets spent is the real challenge. Both temporary and permanent solutions are needed because there will ...always be a "new" group of people entering homelessness and others who will be leaving. I read that there are about 3500 homeless people in this area ... I don't know if that is ongoing or a yearly figure, but it means there needs to be options for a lot more than 3500. If there is a disaster, like the BIG QUAKE that is expected, then there will need to be temporary shelter and services for thousands of local people. Maybe parking garages can be upgraded with individual restrooms that have a hidden shower option (handicap accessible)... those who have cars can be put on the top level now so that all these details can be worked out ahead of time...and emergency funds can be used for the upgrades. Maybe the city has land, maybe five acres with access by bus and car, that can be made into a permanent KOA-type facility with separate sections for day and night workers, for families and singles, etc. Maybe it can have its own store with food stamp foods, maybe a food cart that can help residents grow their own business and then move on. Maybe it can have laundry facilities, showers, and all the things that camping facilities have, and homeless people need. Maybe it can have a work trade option. Maybe the city can build housing that the homeless can PURCHASE instead of rent, starting with the 30% of income that public housing is operated at. Tiny Homes, smaller homes, small apartments in a coop setting, and more... building toward a stable and more financially secure future. Maybe the city can build and sell instead of fund and subsidize. I think there are a lot of solutions that no one wants to think of... sometimes homelessness is the reason a business exists... like Welfare programs, it is more about job security than really helping people with what they need... no programs means no jobs. What are YOUR solutions to these problems... how do you REALISTICALLY think the government should INVEST tax dollars to SOLVE these problems ???????

You have to search through posts like this at FB because you can't make paragraphs in the comments section... unless you copy and past them from somewhere else !!  :-)

I lived in war housing when I went to the University of Oregon... they had purchased old military barracks and made them into student housing (FAMILY housing!).  They were small.  In the NW there are still some of the old lumber industry housing units around, and they were very small.  I have seen cabins for the wilderness that were very small.  Tiny homes are popular now as an ownership option that moves with you -- they are very small.  When resources are difficult to find, small seems to be the word that everyone goes to.  We can find a way to make small houses at small prices IF we want to... but the current funding process doesn't allow for that.  I am hoping we can change the process and change the results.

My design efforts are for handicap-accessible units so anyone can live in them... which means wider doors and halls and other things.

I have considered the option of separating the land from the "improvements" (house, etc.) to reduce the tax burdens until we can get rid of property taxes altogether.  Property taxes don't work well and we need reforms throughout the country and government.  (I want to get rid of income taxes, too... to make it a ONE TAX system, a limited -- 10% maximum -- sales tax.)

A smaller mortgage means a smaller payment window.  Fifteen years is the goal.  A revolving fund will encourage everyone to pay as fast as they can.  Instead of an interest rate, I want to make it a biblical loan fee of 20%.  (GOD charges 20% when we "borrow" the tithe... it sounds like a great idea to me... and makes a finite loan amount.)

I can't remember all of the things I am working out, but those are some of them.  Now the only thing left is to win the BIG prize in the lottery, or sell a lot of my products !!   Whichever comes first !  :-)

In Christ, 
Deborah Martin