By Linda Kaidan
The above cabin exclusive of interior finishes was constructed by one person in 6 months for $8,000. As the nation faces a housing and food crisis of major proportion, simple solutions can make a huge difference. We have been governed by customs and rules that work against us in this pandemic. We need to use the resources we have intelligently to hold off the chaos that starvation and homelessness bring.
We can economically provide food, housing and self-sufficiency
Using the labor of those in need, inexpensive materials, and existing education programs to ramp up quickly we can achieve multiple goals at the same time. In New York state our budget can come from ending the absurd practice of using welfare hotels as housing. Key to our success would be the suspension of building regulations to enable crisis housing and the use of trending off-grid methods of heating, power, housing construction, water collection-purification and waste incinerating toilets.
What has been one year’s budget for New York state’s homeless would fund construction of semi-permanent residences, workplaces and food growing facilities serving thousands of people for years to come. A single modified shipping container can house 8 people, 2 per room, with a private entrance. In the following example, housing for 8 people is created, with potential expansion from 80 ft to 480 feet per unit. A budget of $9,000 per person would pay for a multi-unit structure at a cost of $72,000. The structure would utilize green energy, water collected from rain, black water reduction and home gardens.
Before Covid-19 things were already spectacularly bad for those in New York State seeking housing. Now they are even worse as employers close their doors and shed jobs. Just last year, the budget for New York City’s homeless was $3.2 billion for 133,000 people, 1/3 of whom were children. Will this be another Great Depression? It need not be, when we to do things differently.
$3.2 billion can build .35 million people affordable homes that will last for many years
Using my onetime $9,000 per person figure for 15+ years of housing and the 2019 NYC homeless housing budget, we can solve our housing crisis by helping individuals and families build their own sustainable homes and gardens for a total of (3.2*(10**9)/9000 = .35 million people). And we can do that for many years, not just one year.