Re: Pass "living wage" laws & ordinances to reduce homelessness?

Flower Child (
Fri, 27 Nov 1998 16:40:57 -0700

Dear Tom and HPN,

I think the cost of our living needs to come down more than the
wages need to be forced up.  A few simple programs can get the
cost of living down for us, whereas it would be extremely
complicated to get all of the employers to agree to increase all
the wages.  They will say they would go out of business if they
did, etc.  They don't want to, so that plan would meet one
objection after another and probably go nowhere.  On the other
hand, if small houses which I would call microhouses were built
and available in sufficient quantities for the poor, the unhoused
homeless and the ill-housed (those paying too great a portion of
their incomes on the housing), there would be rapid solution to
our problems.  At the same time we also would end up with a much
better lifestyle than we have known in regular houses, apartments
or rooms.

Along with this to further reduce our cost of living, a single
computer per community or telephone-wide area could be used for
people to list or search for used household items, ranch and farm
resources, and rides, jobs, housing, and other community
information like classified ads.  People could call and list
their items which were for sale, for exchange, or for free.  And
people could call searching for what they need, have the ads read
to them which came up, and be given the numbers to call to
negotiate free-enterprise style with the people who had placed
the ads.  The resources would be going directly from where they
are not wanted, to where they are wanted.  They don't need
central warehousing, duplicated transportation or handling, or to
go to stores where we have to physically look through everything
for our sizes, what we want, etc.  There is no middle person to
make the prices go up.  Most everything which is going into the
dumpsters could be listed as resources in this system, also
saving the costs of municipal landfills, and people could get rid
of all the excess things in their houses, attics and garages and
sheds, which they know are too good to throw out but they can't
find who needs them nor pay for an expensive print ad to
advertise them.  When we can get what we want without going to
the regular stores, we will be saving not only money and our time
but the demands the stores pass on to the Third World for new
supplies of resources or cheap labor they make a profit on.  This
could result in a more peaceful world as the other countries
could do this plan also, and not try to get everyone into the big
American lifestyle.  I've outlined this simple plan at .  Running
from a little office or a home, this service could easily be
subsidized or could eventually charge those who placed the ads a
bit and become self-sufficient.  If there are no telephones in an
area, people just walk up to the office to list or search for
resources they need, much like at a little tienda in Mexico.

Forget all this temporary and transitional housing with all the
government and charitable subsidies, a large portion of which
will go for boards and staffs who manage it, and with their
endless arguing and judgments about what 'flavor' or style you'll
be managed in.  The homeless need homes -- it's that simple!
It's time for reasonably priced housing -- microhousing.  Plain,
simple and ordinary has been taken off the market so more
elaborate, complex and upscale housing could be built which would
make more profit for the greedy.  These designs are also killing
the Earth and making us import far more than we export.  It also
makes people very separated in their neighborhoods.  There are
too many laws about housing which have been passed by special
interest -- the construction industry, the building supply
stores, the carpenters', electricians' and plumbers' unions or
business owners, and developers and their lawyers or someone who
has agreed to represent their interests, because of the money,
services, discounts or positions and deals given or promised
later.  They're sitting on the boards, committees, councils or
supervisors panels, passing one restriction after another all of
which have pushed up housing prices, so that houses are
unaffordable and renting of a portion of such a house, such as a
room or apartment, also is unaffordable.  Enough is enough!

A microhouse is a small house.  It has a bed and few other
amenities.  It is beautiful, and can have a picket fence and
flowerbox and a little yard where you might grow some food or
flowers.  You could build and pay for such a house in six months,
building it yourself, with a community's help, or have them
provided ready-made.  These microhouses could be of many
interesting and beautiful designs and materials, and could be
built on-site or delivered easily.  They are simply miniature
houses, scaled down, but looking much like a lot of bigger
houses.  A big difference would be that these houses would not be
taking half of your lifetime to pay for such as the average house
offered by today's market.  Besides single microhouses scattered
around in previously unbuildable lots, microhouse cohousing
blocks in city or rural locations would have a variety of
microhouses around the property and the cars would stay out.
There would be central shared facilities such as laundry,
showers, bathrooms, kitchen facilities and storage.  Portapotties
in the microhouses (possibly modules accessed from the outside of
the microhouse) could be dumped into the central bathroom at a
special separate sanitary dump location there.  Water would be
available only at the central area but could be carried back to
the housing, and charged-up batteries could be exchanged there
and taken back to be plugged into the recess in the microhouse
from the outside.  Inside, widely available automotive 12-volt
systems could be used in the microhouses, with things like van
interior lights, car stereos and CD players, TV's, fans, etc.  If
propane is desired, it too, could be plugged into a recess from
the outside of the microhouse using a  regular camper-sized
propane tank.  Using this system, no connections have to be paid
for and maintained to all the houses and everyone gets a good
sense of how much resources they are using, and will probably use
much less.  Just being smaller, microhouses use less energy.

I have microhouses  described on my website, too, but what you
have already read here is all you need to know.

Together we can beat these people who have failed to serve Life.

I love you, Flower Child         from alt.gathering.rainbow

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Boland <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, November 27, 1998 2:13 AM
Subject: Pass "living wage" laws & ordinances to reduce

:Should "minimum wage" be a "living wage" by legal mandate?
:Should all employees be paid this wage, or just some employees?
:Or is it best to leave wages entirely up to market supply and
:Should lawmakers require "all employers" pay a living wage, or
just "some
:employers"?  If "some employers", which ones and why just these
:How could you or lawmakers fairly define a living wage?
:I welcome your comments.  Find a related article below:
:FWD  Washington Post - November 26, 1998; Page M03
:By Lyndsey Layton - Washington Post Staff Writer
:Homeless shelters in two of the three Southern Maryland counties
:reporting a surge in the number of men, women and children
without a place
:to call home this Thanksgiving -- a trend that is straining
shelters and
:puzzling social service workers.
:In Charles County, officials are seeing about 10 percent more
:people compared with this time last year, with a particular
increase in
:families and victims of domestic violence.
:In St. Mary's County, the lone shelter for men in Lexington Park
:estimating a 25 percent increase in its homeless population,
with a
:significant rise among homeless people with mental illness.
:And in Calvert County, the single shelter in Prince Frederick
reports a
:slight decrease in the number of people requesting help but
officials say
:that those using the shelter are staying longer, compared with a
year ago.
:"It's hard to point to a reason this is happening, except to say
most of
:the people here simply can't afford to live in this community at
jobs that
:pay $6 an hour," said Denise Capaci, regional director for
:Maryland at Catholic Charities, which operates Angel's Watch
Shelter, a
:52-bed facility in Hughesville for women and children.
:The Hughesville shelter, which receives money from the Catholic
:of Washington, as well as county, state and federal governments,
has been
:full since Oct. 1. Last month it turned away about 155 people.
During the
:same month a year ago, the shelter turned away 141 people,
Capaci said.
:"Our county's growing in population, but not building any more
:apartments," she said. "Most of the people coming into this
shelter have
:been living here for years or have been raised here, but they
can't afford
:to pay the rents. A lot of folks are priced out. Minimum wage is
not a
:living wage."
:So many victims of domestic violence have been seeking shelter
at Angel's
:Watch that the facility has set aside two rooms especially for
:women, Capaci said.
:Charles County opened its first shelter for men in a Waldorf
:park last month but one week after the new Robert J. Fuller
Shelter was in
:business, the 16-bed facility was full. It now has three men on
a waiting
:list, Director Irene Wallingford said.
:In St. Mary's County, where the expansion of the Patuxent River
Naval Air
:Station has revved up the local economy, many of the homeless
seeking help
:from the Three Oaks Center suffer from mental illness, said
:Lancaster, the executive director of the three-year-old shelter
for men.
:"A lot of times in the past, the people we served were here for
:being poor," said  Lancaster, whose 18-bed shelter is financed
by local
:churches and county, state and federal governments. "The economy
is good,
:more and more people have jobs. We're seeing fewer 'poor' and
more of the
:folks coming out of mental health facilities that need support.
:Now we're finding a need to bring in mental health services,
help for
:addiction, that kind of thing," Lancaster said.
:Three Oaks has seen a 25 percent increase in the number of
people seeking
:shelter at its facility, compared with a year ago, Lancaster
said. He
:attributed that partly to increased awareness about the shelter
but said
:cutbacks at state mental hospitals such as Spring Grove have
:mentally ill people back into communities without adequate
:In Calvert County, Project ECHO opened its emergency 25-bed
shelter in a
:white house next to the State Police barracks in 1993 in Prince
:This year, the homeless shelter has served about 200 people,
almost 10
:percent fewer than last year, said Thomas Morgan, president of
the board of
:directors for Project ECHO. The nonprofit Project ECHO is
supported by
:local churches, the United Way and state and federal
:But the homeless who walk in the doors at Project ECHO are
staying longer
:these days than they did a year ago, indicating a need in the
county for a
:transitional shelter -- a place where people can stay at least
six months
:while they earn enough money to be able to rent an apartment or
:Morgan said.
:"We can't solve their problems in 90 days," he said. "We can get
:started, get them employed, but they need longer time to get
back on their
:feet and learn to budget. . . . There are jobs available but
:low-paying jobs, they're not full time and they have no
benefits. If you're
:making $5 an hour, even if you're working full time, that's only
$11,000 a
:Advocates for the homeless say anyone with a need for emergency
:transitional housing can call the social services department in
:county for the best range of referrals and services. Shelters in
:St. Mary's and Calvert counties also welcome calls. In an
emergency, the
:local police can direct a person in need to a shelter.
:** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is
:distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in
:receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes. **
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