I present all this to a board of senior faculty at 9:30 am Friday.
Wild Thesis Presentation appeared!
PNCA selected Rah. Go!
Rah used Pillowcase Chibi. It’s super effective!
Thesis Presentation used all-nighter. Rah became sleepy!
Rah is sleeping.
PNCA fed Rah an Alarm Clock. It woke up!
Thesis Presentation used How Is This Art? It’s not very effective…
Rah used Visual Aids. It’s super effective!
Thesis Presentation cannot battle anymore.
I have the best friends.
I fear it may be time for a new battery or a new camera. It only held its charge for two days. We’ll see if it works better when I don’t accidentally turn it on all the time by stuffing it in an enormous overfull backpack.
In other news, the Channel 8 video is now on MSNBC, too! I’ve gotten one email from a person who saw that, and a couple teachers commenting on it. Very nice! And just in time for my thesis presentation, too, which —
—by the way, folks. I present all this to a board of senior faculty at 9:30 am Friday. Then a reporter from CCN, the official Chinese news network, is coming to do a 90-second short on it. I am freaking RIGHT the fuck out.
I still need to get a bunch of stuff printed and painted, finish the instruction book, and do my laundry, because I’ve run out of clean underwear.
I’m working on it! Look for them tomorrow or Saturday!
The Multnomah County Federal Funding Housing Needs Consolidated Action Plan meeting was interesting.
I brought along the journalist who’d asked to interview me that day, and the homeless man who is helping me build his Boot. We were the only audience members, and not all of the officials who were supposed to be there were there. Everyone was soft-spoken and polite, and offered us seats and cookies.
There were people representing the Gresham, Multnomah, and Portland administrative offices. There were two or three people from Central City Concern, and one each from a disability advocacy group, JOIN, and another homelessness charity that I don’t remember. Transition Project was not represented.
They had organized handouts of what their goals were. They look pretty good: affordable housing and rent protection/eviction aid are top of the list, and there’s a lot of talk in there about making sure housing is available and suitable for the most vulnerable populations.
The committee soberly discussed a couple changes of wording for greater clarity and consistency, and one woman gave a mini-presentation on the results of a City Concern charity for short-term detox facilities with longer-term housing and employment aid for people who successfully went through the program. Unfortunately, it made me realize that one of the fastest ways for a sober person to get off the street might be to get extremely drunk and go there for help. I didn’t get a very good idea of who was in charge of what, or how labor and funding were divided, or what most of their projects actually were.
I’m getting a better idea of where the Boots could fit into all this, though. It’s certain that people need better information on what aid is out there. A fair number also need safe, individual shelter with no hoops to jump through. Many more need housing that doesn’t eat up their wages, and swift temporary aid for things like medical emergencies, divorce, childcare, being laid off, and transportation breakdowns. I can provide information and shelter, but someone else really ought to figure out some kind of emergency small-loan service - one that isn’t predatory check-cashing or payday loans or all the rest of the nasty stuff people do to make money off of people with less than they have.
Can I just… hug you? That’s really rough, I hope you’re both in better places now. It sounds like you are.
None of us are alone. We all have families, and we worry about them.
Thank you, anon.
Breaking news: giving people control over their lives has better results than taking care of it for them.
This is part of my project goal, though perhaps not one I’ve stated explicitly. I refuse to police the people in my wagons. My requests are ‘Don’t ruin it for everybody else’ and ‘Pass it on when you’re done with it.’ If someone in a Boot is a problem, someone can call the police on them - they’re pretty distinctive, it’s not like one will be mistaken for another or as hard to describe as a car. If a Boot is abandoned, people can call me, and I’ll pick it up, repair it, switch the locks, and pass it along.
I can point people at services. I will never make going to those services part of the ‘deal’ for keeping the Boot. It is given without strings. It is THEIRS.
This also cuts out a LOT of overhead, bureaucracy, and effort. I don’t have to keep track of these people and hound them for payment, haul them into meetings against their will, or do anything but teach them how to use the tools they need when they show up to help. Everyone saves!
So, like any news article, the oregonlive article on the Bootstrap project has gotten comments that range from helpful and cautionary to helpful and enthused, and some mean-spirited rants. One of my good friends, a man I deeply respect, a Quaker who actually has kept several friends from homelessness, had this to say to the people whose prejudices were falling out of their mouths:
It’s amazing how many people believe that alcoholism and drug use are the primary causes of homelessness, rather than something that a few highly visible homeless people use.
The truth is, there’s a lot more variety out there than people realize. There are drug users and there are good, generous, competent people out there who hit a rough patch, or grew up in poverty and never had the kind of family help most middle-class Americans take for granted. There are people who had to quit their job, break away from their old life completely, move to a new city, and seek help in order to get clean. And they DID get clean. There are lots of people who tried everything they could think of to avoid homelessness, and couldn’t make it. There are carpenters, steel-workers, housewives, teachers, waitresses - people who thought of themselves as middle-class until they were laid off or had a medical emergency.
There’s also help for them. One of the things I was noticing in the comments was the genuine ignorance of what help is already out there. If those people were suddenly homeless, they’d have no idea who to turn to for help, and neither do most of the people who end up homeless.
I can be a research hub for these people. I’m happy to be a research hub for these people. The visibility of the Bootstrap Homes means I’m well-positioned to be something of a community/homeless interface, and the sweat equity construction time gives me a chance to talk to people, figure out what they’re looking for, and tell them where to find it, without insulting their intelligence.
I don’t want to be a bottleneck, though. I’m only one person, and very much an introvert. Therefore, my plan is to post designs and construction manuals for anyone to use, get hardware stores to carry kits, talk to news reporters to spread the word, and post all the links I can find to helpful projects.
Like Transition Projects, here in Portland. They’re awesome. Or EDAR, who make little tent-carts and provide space to park them.
For anyone who doesn’t live in Portland, or doesn’t have a TV and a time machine - here’s the story that Channel 8 did on the Bootstrap Homes project. Thank you, Katherine Cook and Channel 8 news! That was amazing.
If the top link doesn’t work for you, try this one:
I just like building things? And this was an idea that came along at the right time. The people I really respect are the ones who work with families to KEEP their homes.
Thank you very, very much for telling me. You’re a sweetheart, too.
This is very, very good work.
A big appliance box is a treasure, but everything is lost in a police sweep.
I’ve seen it.
Sleeping in a car is nice, but car repair and fuel are expensive.
Millions are about to be driven to this level of existence, and up until now, no one has come up with a liveable pod that we can sleep in while we exsist and persist.
You do good work, Sarah.