It's Day 360 of the Year 2018 CE, the 52nd and last Wednesday of the year
So, December 26, 2018 - for my reference if nothing else.
strong>First, some History for the History buffs
Forty-six years ago, as part of Operation Linebacker II, the US bombed the shit our of a residential and shopping neighborhood named Kham Thien in Hanoi. Pretty much the whole neighborhood, including over 2,000 homes was destroyed. The US had taken an xmas holiday from its truly earth shattering bombing campaign in Hanoi and Haiphong, which had lured some of Hanoi's citizens back to the city, but they were still only able to kill roughly 278 civilians and injure barely 290 more in the post xmas raid on this civilian population center. That was a pretty miserable return on investment for the magnitude of the attack, the tonnage of bombs dropped and the loss of two B-52s. Two thousand lousy residences and under 300 civilians killed, a total failure as these things go. Assorted nasty furriners and murrikan traitors called this a war crime, but it clerly wasn't. If it were, then every time the US military intentionally bombed, shelled or otherwise intentionally attacked civilian targets, civilians, civilian neighborhoods, civilian infrastructure like schools and hospitals, shelters like the Amiriyah shelter in Iraq that G.H.W. Bush, a veritable saint, had bombed in Iran, and arguably things like civilian power grids, water and sanitation facilities and the like would be a war crime too. That's simply ridiculous. That would mean that the US has committed thousands upon thousands of them, for this is very much a longstanding favorite US "military" tactic. That cannot possibly be a war crime, for we are the shining city upon the hill
Because we destroyed far more residences than the number of civilians we slaughtered, the above raid did create homelessness, but that isn't what this is all about. Our economic system probably creates as many or more homeless here at home in a day. This is taking some sort of toll on the cities in which these people find themselves. The cities and pundits all tell us so, though I doubt that it is even remotely of the nature and magnitude of the toll that it takes on the homeless themselves. Many cities have tried to find some sort of solution, one of the most popular being one-way bus tickets to somewhere else, though seizing all of their possessions so that they die of starvation and exposure is also very popular. Some, still rare, cities, however, are actually trying to help these people, which is what I plan on discussing here.
Oakland, CA is providing some sort of temporary housing for at least some of the city's homeless population. These are "houses" (as opposed to warehouses such as the typical institutional style shelter) that are arranged in small "villages". Oakland is using converted Tuff Sheds (see articles here: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/08/homeless-greet-new-tuff-sheds-with-hesitation-hope/
and here: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/10/02/oakland-unveils-tuff-shed-village-to-house-homeless/ ) and has had some limited successes in the goal of homeless persons using these "houses" as a stepping stone to permanent housing and even jobs. (It does seem to me that any unemployed person won't have "permanent housing" for long it they don't land some sort of gig shortly after they get the house, but what do I know.)
San Jose, CA has a much publicized and much delayed plan to create similar villages using custom manufactured "Tiny Homes". It has been long in process and often in the news, but, as far as I can tell has yet to approve a single locale for such a village. I am writing this on the 12th, however, and they may well have done so by the time it is published, insofar as they are meeting to approve (or disapprove) the first such locales on the 18th. (See article here: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/12/10/see-san-joses-new-tiny-homes-for-homeless-residents/ ).
Oakland is also firing up another program of a different but very important type. They have instituted a program to try to prevent at least some homelessness by intervening on behalf of those about to become homeless or who are very likely to become homeless. This is very important, because homelessness is a trap and the start of a vicious circle. Finding or even holding a job is not merely more difficult, but much, much more difficult. In fact, everything about, modern life is a great deal harder. Not just employment and dealing with bureaucracies, but things like health. Homelessness and ill health go hand in hand, especially for those whose homelessness was caused by ill health. Once one is there, it only gets worse and worse, because we have no meaningful health care system, only a medical profits sharing and distribution system. This is pretty basic. There once was a time when everybody knew that there were certain minimum basic necessities of life, hell, they were even taught in schools. Food, clothing and what? Think hard now - wasn't number 3 "shelter"? If you could survive as a hunter-gatherer, a cave could qualify as shelter, but not in this day and age, and less so under a bridge or freeway overpass. Shelter is a basic necessity of life and programs to maintain people in the homes that they are in is much easier than getting them new ones once they have lost those and begun the downward spiral.
This article Oakland’s plan to battle homelessness: Stop it before it starts is from the December 3, 2018 Christian Science Monitor and can be found on this page: https://www.csmonitor.com/Daily/2018/20181203?cmpid=ema:ddp:20181203&id=1080136 as the third article. It notes that the Keep Oakland Housed program is a
$9 million, four-year pilot initiative, funded by the San Francisco Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, offers emergency financial assistance, supportive services, and legal representation to low-income tenants on the brink of eviction.
The article further notes that:
The city joined with Bay Area Community Services, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and East Bay Community Law Center to create the program. Residents who earn 50 percent or less of the area’s median income can qualify for assistance – a threshold of $40,700 for one person or $58,100 for a family of four – and receive as much as $7,000 in aid. Case managers disburse the money straight to landlords or third-party vendors to cover a tenant’s lapsed payments on rent, utility bills, or other expenses.
Case managers in Oakland work with tenants to organize their household budgets and apply for assistance to lower their utility and phone bills. For residents in need of mental health or substance abuse counseling, job training, or education planning, the program provides in-house resources and referrals to other agencies.
“We don’t want to just be check writers,” Erickson says. “There’s usually a lot more going on, and without addressing those things, people can continue to struggle.”
Only time will tell how well this will work in Oakland, or in other cities like San Francisco, New York and Chicago that are experimenting with similar programs, but even a small success will really be a large success for those needing these programs to stay housed. While we await those results, we should consider being pro-active and lobbying for similar programs in the cities of our residence. We could maybe even push for something national along these lines, a couple of percent of the annual budget allocated to slaughtering foreign persons who refuse to take orders from our government and our corporations.
Photo by Daniel Lobo is public domain
Its an open thread so have at it. The floor is yours
Crossposted from caucus99percent.com