We Need New Thinking On Homelessness

To one who has significant and diverse experience with construction, costs, affordability and trends, the current situation of homelessness isn’t surprising. In fact it’s just another example of causes and effects. Let me outline a few.

Housing costs have escalated far beyond most people’s means. Example: I bought my first place in Lorane in 1971; 2½ areas with a small house, well and septic for $7,500. I was told by a Realtor that would probably be around $200,000 today. 

Certainly wages haven’t kept up, while society and education have embraced high technology, automation and outsourcing without ever addressing the question, how do we address the structural unemployment that follows in its wake?

Thus the path of poverty and homelessness is littered with good intentions and hollow promises but little opportunity or a path forward.

That is particularly true today as the lead agency, Homes for Good, which used to be HACSA and is clueless as to the extent of the problem when asked, is building a 51-unit complex that is costing $250,000 per unit and has no fire in the belly to begin to address this crisis? The county commissioners are its board.

Until this culture of privilege defined by a total lack of innovation and understanding, including the depths of interrelated compounding rules and regulations that prevent real solutions from even being explored, is changed, no real solutions can be sought. Current efforts are about as effective as a Donny Trump casino.

This is a classic example that one can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

It’s time for real change — and real solutions.

Craig Patterson

McKenzie Bridge