Housing for the Homeless: The Boat Solution

LOS ANGELES

PREVEN REPORT--Why not use one or more docked decommissioned cruise ships as a stop-gap measure to provide temporary housing to homeless people in Los Angeles County?

  

Ships like that contain hundreds of rooms with running water, showers, privacy, and a place to store one's belongings securely; they have facilities for food preparation, medical care, and recreation.   

Residents would be free to come and go. Wrap-around supportive services could be provided efficiently. Larger rooms on the boat could be used for administrative purposes such as offices for social workers and mental health professionals.  

Unsanitary? 

If we can put a man on the moon, we can keep a boat clean—and the status quo is untenable. 

This isn’t a new idea. Last year the former Mayor of San Francisco and separately a group of New Zealand business people proposed the idea. Nothing appears to have come of those proposals, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore the idea now. (See photo above.)  

A cabin in a ship is obviously not ideal housing, but it’s better than nothing, which is what our local elected leaders are offering at present. They talk and talk and write condescending op-ed pieces about how the public needs to be patient and Rome wasn’t built in a day—and it’s all nonsense, because even a sixth-grader can see that homeless people aren’t getting the help they need. People are lying all over the streets of Los Angeles. There’s been an outbreak of hepatitis.  

If someone has a better idea of how to get people off the street and into a room, with privacy and shelter and access to necessary social and health service, then now would be a good time to share that idea.

(Eric Preven and Joshua Preven are public advocates for better transparency in local government and are occasional contributors to CityWatch. A piece they wrote for CityWatch "It’s Time to End LA’s Secret Meetings: What Do City Council Members and LA’s County Supervisors Have to Hide?" won  the LA Press Club award for Online Political Commentary.) Photo credit: Guardian

-cw

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