Astute reader Johnny, who blogs from San Francisco, thoughtfully, on urban matters, has an interesting post this week with regard to portable housing for street people. This is partly in response to my posts on Cabrito Road but largely his own observations on sustainable development in California. It’s well worth reading.
FWIW, I find the Hobo House on Wheels concept oddly compelling. I could even imagine a KOA campground-like arrangement with a central mail drop, wifi hub and showers. Not in Van Nuys, of course. Somewhere up in the Antelope Valley, on the edge of the desert.
Therein lies the problem. Nobody want this guy “residing” on their block, or down the street, or anywhere nearby:
In an online tete-a-tete Johnny has pointed out the hypocrisy of my placing the campground in someone else’s town, thereby violating a standing theme of this blog: Van Nuys as Repository of Other People’s Social Engineering Schemes.
In my defense, I will say this: there’s a lot of space in the desert. Hobo-ville need not be in anyone’s town. It would also by its remoteness separate the serious crack addicts from those who are merely in need of shelter. People like this guy:
It would be an imperfect solution to a long unresolved problem: what to do with surplus people in a global city, a two hour drive from an open border with Mexico which disgorges an endless stream of fresh labor willing to work for less than $10/hr and sleep in a garage.
Crarckheads and junkies will sleep under the freeway and down on Skid Row, anywhere they can score quickly. The schizophrenics will wander institution-less through our world. But the surplus people, the unloved, the forgotten, the un-hirable, those who flipped their canoe somehow and never put it upright again….maybe the tent-on-casters arrangement is a civic compromise preferable to this: