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Los Angeles Man Converting Handicapped Portable Toilets into Homes for Homeless


LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles man says he’s found a solution to the city’s housing crisis in the most unlikeliest of places.

T.K. Devine wants to help solve L.A.’s homeless problem with portable toilets.

“Folks who are living it rough and living on the streets and are trying to make a better life for themselves, they need consistency,” Devine told CBS Los Angeles. “They need a good night’s rest.”

The 35-year-old founder of Porta-Home is converting portable toilets into portable homes out of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse, including one built for himself.

It’s a large unit, originally built for those with disabilities, and the toilet is removed. The bed folds up and turns the room into a kitchen, along with a mini-fridge under the bed.

“I can fit a 6-foot-1 frame — with my shoes off, like my mama taught me — comfortably on the bed, and yeah, it’s as big as a twin bed,” he says.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/portable-toilets-converted-into-homes-for-homeless/




People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

Comments

  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    “Folks who are living it rough and living on the streets and are trying to make a better life for themselves, they need consistency,” Devine told CBS Los Angeles. “They need a good night’s rest.”

    It would amaze people how the tiniest of changes can transform people.

    While researching how people actually behave when given a no-strings-attached-income (welfare actually has massive strings attached, for those interested, which may explain why it appears a broken system), I read a study in which seemingly perma-homeless, some of which were hardcore heroin addicts, were each given $200 in cash, no strings attached, to see what they would do. All of them - not some of them, all of them - were off the street some weeks later as the result of this minuscule leg up, and some were even in progress of breaking their addictions. This tiny helping hand somehow snapped them out of it and inspired within them the motivation to get going again. 
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    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
  • That ties into the fallacy people are guilty of when demanding that homeless people clean up and get jobs.  That is very difficult because:

    They have no home, meaning they can't bathe and groom thoroughly except with the aid of a shelter or a public washroom (where they aren't exactly welcomed).

    They have no presentable wardrobe - again, largely because they have no place to keep and wash it, and because nice clothing ranks below water, food, shelter and addiction relief for most homeless people.  I often see "helpful" suggestions for the homeless to buy old suits at thrift shops, but even a $10 second-hand suit is expensive for a man who only has $12.57 in his pocket.

    Almost nobody will hire them because they don't look presentable and because they have no proper fixed address.  Do they have references?  Recent job experience?  How will they get to and from work on time every day?  Furthermore, in today's world they have even more strikes against them because they likely lack social media presence and more than likely have troubled credit histories.  Plenty of companies check either or both now. 

    And then, even if they do get a job, how many employers would be patient with someone who is quite possibly struggling with mental issues and attempting to quit addictions?  The types of jobs homeless people can get have zero job security.  How many employers would eagerly refrain from abusing such people?

    How can a homeless person stay neat and clean and optimistic enough to survive getting fired before their first pay, which could be as much as two months down the line?  Will that pay, which is probably low, be sufficient to afford them a stable place to live?  In which cities can anyone afford their own place on a low wage?  Beyond that, which property management companies will rent to someone with the kind of history a homeless person probably has?

    The homeless aren't human islands, either.  They are a community of people who talk to each other, trade stories both good and bad, help one another, fight one another and, in general, act like a community of human beings.  The homeless know about all of the obstacles in their path.  They know how they look and possibly smell.  They know the biases of employers and the abuses carried out by many "we'll hire anyone!" companies.  They all know other people who got off the streets and what it took, as well as other people who are still on the streets in spite of trying.

    "Get a job you lazy bum!" is about the most unhelpful thing someone can say to a homeless person.  How are they supposed to respond?  Put down their change cup, walk into a store, and start tomorrow at their new position, then returning home to their new apartment that is somehow already furnished and paid for?

    It's no wonder that many people look at the handful of coins in their possession and decide to spend it on a quick release from their misery.  It isn't enough to afford anything else.

    That $200 a month, though?  That's enough for a new suit and a haircut and some proper food.  It might just be enough to allow someone to overcome their many challenges.
    People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
    - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
  • I should also add that the alternative to an apartment for homeless people is often a shelter like the YMCA, which offers beds for $20 a night.

    And yet, $20 x 30 days a month is $600.  I paid less than that for my first one-bedroom apartment 12 years ago, but that was because I *had* hundreds of dollars available to pay in lump sums on command.  Homeless people don't.
    People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
    - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    Really good comments, and I agree with them. 

    Here's the crazy thing though: that $200 wasn't even monthly, it was a one-time lump of cash in their hands just to see what "street people do with their money", assuming as soon as they see a coin, they boil said coin down in a spoon and inject it into their arm.

    It appears it was just enough to get a motel room, get washed, get food, and get started just as you mentioned above. Can you imagine what a negative income tax could do if this tiny amount of one-time money can solve all this?

    A lot of people look at the homeless and see nothing but a walking list of problems, but when I think about it carefully, people with homes are afflicted with nearly the same things, only they habour their challenges while propertied. They're still addicted to things. They still get into fights. They're still full of sadness and confusion and anger. For some reason people have come to believe that material things suddenly make all these problems go away. The homeless are essentially a barometer for society, because everything that plagues society is super-visible in their community.
    -------------------
    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
  • There are even some homeless people who choose that way of life because it's the only type of complete freedom left.  No bills, no boss, no rules, no rat race and no social visibility.
    People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
    - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    In days of yore they would probably be the ones who "went west", but there's no more "west" to go to
    -------------------
    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
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