Tiny Homes or Lockable Tents?
by John Lawrence, September 8, 2018
There are groups around that are trying to build tiny homes for the homeless. The problem is where to put them. Do you put them on some kind of foundation? Do you have utility hook-ups? What about drainage? What about mildew and rot from water soaked lumber? One of the big selling points of this approach is that the tiny homes are lockable. My solution would be tents plus lockers for valuables. This solution could be produced much more cheaply and is more flexible in terms of moving things to a different location. While tents are not secure unless they were to be made out of a material that couldn't be easily slashed with a knife (maybe such materials are available, I don't know), tents can be locked. That's some deterrent to would be thieves.
Utility hook-ups should be out of the question. There are battery powered lamps for lighting. Lockers which can be mass produced and made out of mildew resistant material like plastic are the ultimate solution for valuables. These lockers could also be made to be portable. You still would need a plot of land, and the best way to secure that would be to cut a deal with the city. Portable sanitation facilities could also be added, both rest rooms and showers. These solutions have been available for some time. They just need to be scaled up.
The problem with tiny houses is that building materials are expensive, and you would have to rely on volunteer labor to put them together. Securing land from the city of San Diego like the unused, undeveloped land south of Morley Field in Balboa Park would be ideal. They had a temporary tent city there once. I wonder what happened to it. Adding a security guard would relieve the police of a lot of their problems in dealing with the homeless. A step up from there would be adding a social worker to help getting the homeless on the right track to a job and a more permanent housing solution.
The city's campground was opened in October of 2017. The San Diego Union reported:
The city of San Diego on Monday opened a camping area for people who are homeless, with 24-hour security, bathrooms and storage.
The 136-space facility was set up in the parking lot of the city operations yard in Golden Hill, just south of the Balboa Park Golf Course.
The camping area is operated by the nonprofit Alpha Project like a typical campground, with rules and regulations and an on-site manager. Each person will register and be assigned a 13- by 13-foot campsite, but each space can accommodate one or more individuals.
The city said that this solution would be temporary until 3 large tents could be opened. I think people would prefer to have their own individual space, no matter how small, than to be thrown together in a large tent with other people. The city was on the right track with the idea of a campsite for the homeless involving individual tents. Why didn't they continue that?