Implementing Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Sonoma County
By Adrienne Lauby
Sept. 11, 2019
There are five major ways to fulfill the demands of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights quickly.
1. Sanctioned Encampments (tents)
2. Safe Parking (cars & R.V./Trailers)
3. Tiny Home Villages (bedrooms with communal sanitation and cooking areas)
4. Leave 'em alone - decriminalization (wrap.org)
5. Major infusion of money from the Federal government. The Feds cut funds to build low income housing during Ronald Reagan's Presidency by 50% and has never restored the budget, much less caught up with the missing years of housing production.
Building in elements of self-management, self-empowerment and community in homeless camps, villages and safe parking is crucial to their success.
It's impossible to talk for long about homelessness without talking about low income housing and poverty. Both of these are large topics, of course, but consider having some framing about them. For instance, you can say, "Homelessness is about poverty. You don't find rich people on the streets. Donald Trump has had bankruptcies, divorces and other crisis events but, like most rich people, he has back up housing and resources that pick him up before he falls too far."
Don't be misled by the term "affordable housing" This is basically workforce housing. Unless it says specifically low-low-housing or no-income housing, it will not be affordable for most homeless people who, at best, are on a fixed income of approx. $1,000 a month.
Don't use the term "homeless" Use homeless people, homeless folks, or homeless individuals. Homeless people are individuals. They are not their condition.
What happens to homeless people's property when they are arrested for being in the "wrong" place, or told to suddenly move on, taking only what they can carry? This has become a growing legal issue since the U.S. is strong about the right of people to own property.
Officially, 42% of homeless people have a physical or mental disability. The actual number is much higher. We could talk about "disabled people living on the street" instead of "homeless people".
There are Tiny Home Villages that cost $200,000 a home and up. While these are cheaper than market-rate housing, they are a limited solution.
1. Homeless Talk
Homeless Action! and Santa Rosa Together talked to 500 Santa Rosa people in small groups to find out what they are thinking about homelessness. Qualitative Research Report, Cecile Querubin lead author.
This same site has an extensive local homeless resource guide.
2. Homeless Census, Official numbers and statistics from the county's yearly survey.
http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CDC/Homeless-Services/Homeless-Count/ (scroll down slightly for the pdf of each year's report)
3. Portrait of Sonoma County
Another official report, this one produced by the Health Department in 2014. Delicious statistics and comparisons about the difference in resources in the poorer communities vs the well off communities, and the consequences of these disparities. Delicious and depressing.
Non-Solution Solutions to End Homelessness
This entire website is full of information. It's located in S.F. but has close connections with grassroots homeless activist groups, especially on the west coast.
5. My favorite doctoral student.
Great academic research on encampments
6. Tipping Point Community
Interesting new group out of the bay area
1. Ten Myths about Homelessness Debunked
One of the best articles I've seen on this topic. Easy to read and Cory Clark did a great job pulling out the myths.
2. 10 Tiny House Villages for the Homeless Across the U.S.: Case studies for a trending idea
A good overview. There are more villages than this, (Seattle has ten all by itself) but this gives a good sense of the diversity in size, management and funding.
3. Modesto tent city attracting interest from other cities dealing with homelessness
California Official City Tent City
4. Column: He Died Sunday on a West L.A. Sidewalk. He was Homeless. He is Part of an Epidemic
Good thinking about how homelessness should be considered a health epidemic. L.A. on track for 1,000 deaths of homeless people in this year alone.
6. Road Home Redux : They're fire-resistant and politically connected, but are 'wildfire cottages' the solution to the region's—heck, the state's—housing crisis?
Includes a lot of quotes from the author of this article.
7. San Jose Tiny Home Village
8. 101 Notes on the LA Tenants Union
Brilliant re-framing of the housing/homelessness problem
9. Rise of Senior homelessness. It's true in Sonoma County too. More and more Californians are old, sick and on the streets. Here’s how we can fight senior homelessness.
1. Santa Rosa
Kevin Polk, who is a guru for Tiny House building, says Santa Rosa now has the best ordinances In the state for helping displaced people get back on their feet using smaller temporary housing.
Fed Court Injunction for Santa Rosa Homeless Relief
a.Order for Preliminary Injunction (scroll past the calendar)
b. Interview with Adrienne Lauby and Victoria Yanez
Santa Rosa gives final approval to 54-unit apartment complex for homeless and low-income residents
Gold Coin Motel set to be Homeless Housing
2. Rohnert Park
Rohnert Park to spend up to $450,000 more on new homeless initiatives
A plan to address homelessness in Chico | Guest commentary
By a City Council member
4. San Francisco
S.F. Looking to follow Seattle's Lead
Los Angeles restores limits on homeless living in vehicles
6. State of California
Darrell Steinberg's New Initiative
a. Cities Must Provide Shelter for Homeless People
California must not repeat old mistakes as it seeks new ways to end homelessness
Last year the State of California gave $500 million to cities and counties for emergency homeless efforts (HEAP). (My group got its first big grant of $450 thousand to build a tiny home village and R.V. park.). Oakland spent all their share on tiny home villages and safe parking. Finding out what happened with all that money would be a research project in itself. Next year the state is giving less. This year it will be $650 million (HHAPP) but it's more restricted and less money for Sonoma County by about $3 million bucks.
Local guy, beautiful stuff. May get an official permit for housing structures next year.
SAVS Tiny Home Villages
Local. I'm part of this group. We are setting up a Tiny Home Village and an R.V. Parking Lot. Stay tuned.
The Low Income Housing Institute builds typical affordable housing but it also has built and manages over ten tiny home villages.