The debate about whether homeless people should get to live in tiny houses now before their permanent big houses are ready continues, stirred by Mayor Ed Murray’s Homeless Czar from the Obama era, Barbara Poppe. I can’t figure out what the argument is.
Here’s how it looks to me. You have a few thousand people living outdoors, sleeping anywhere from doorways to tents. People like Poppe say they should get nice proper sized houses. There aren’t enough nice proper sized houses to put them in and they can’t afford them, and the government isn’t coming forward with the money to put them into full-sized apartments.
In the meantime all sorts of people step forward with wood, nails and hammers, and build little tiny houses and hand them over to people who had been living outdoors.
And Barbara Poppe complains and tells them those tiny houses aren’t good enough.
How many times have you thought like that in your life?
Riding buses is unsanitary, stigmatizing and inhumane. It amounts to warehousing people during transport. It forces too many people together and increases the likelihood of contagious diseases spreading. We shouldn’t have buses, we should spend all our efforts in arranging for everyone to have a proper-sized car. No fewer than one car per four family members, because it would be inhumane to stuff five people in a Buick.
Differently sighted people should get chauffeurs until their self-driving cars are available, right? No! That’s wrong. That would be settling for an inadequate stigmatizing solution for the differently sighted. They should not receive chauffeur driven cars because that would single them out as less transportation independent than the driving non-challenged. Programmable self-driving cars are the only adequate solution.
Or, how about talking about food this way? Have you ever been on food stamps and got to the end of the month and the only food left is a can of ravioli? And did you say, “a meal solely from a can of ravioli would be inhumane and stigmatizing and inadequate, and therefore I will put this can away and starve until my economic travails are rectified or a benefactor comes through with a three course meal that has food in all the food groups in accordance with the well known food pyramid, for the sake of my health and quality of life?”
No. You eat your ravioli.
The logic as applied to tiny houses should apply as well to indoor shelters. Indoor shelters are less safe than tiny houses and more unsanitary. So if we aren’t going to have tiny houses based on that objection we should close all the indoor shelters and put everyone outside until Poppe and Mayor Murray and friends pull together all that great big-house housing that’s in the pipeline. You know, the housing we can’t build now because of the beaucoup bucks we’re wasting keeping dirty shelters going.
Speaking of wasting money, didn’t that point-in-time homeless count back in January cost some money? What’s it costing per month to pay people to sit on the data and keep it warm through winter and most of spring? Or are they sitting on it to keep it from walking away?
Meanwhile, in news that can only make you ill when laid up against all this talk about homelessness, the population of King County increased last year by the equivalent of one entire new Burien. Go away new people, we already have a Burien.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Aha! That’s where all the new homeless people are coming from.” You would be wrong about that. Most of these new people are either babies that were born last year or are people coming in to take jobs in our booming tech industry. The relationship these newcomers have to our homelessness crisis is not that they, the newcomers, are homeless, but that they are coming to higher paying jobs and willing to pay higher rents.
They are enabling rent hikes. So that people who have been living here already can no longer afford the rents and get trapped into homelessness.
It’s not a lack of wealth but an abundance of wealth unequally distributed that’s driving increases in homelessness.
Aside from that, I think we can all agree: No more tiny houses. From now on, if anyone gets a mansion, we all get mansions.