The Problems With Boots, as catalogued by their maker, two months after completing the fourth Boot.
1) Even though they’re legal, parking enforcement tends to target them, because they’re clearly ‘homeless.’ I would need to talk to the City Council and clarify this with them, and possibly fight a legal battle to get parking enforcement to apply the laws evenly.
2) It’s very difficult to stay in touch with the occupants, and therefore difficult to arrange for repairs or transfer of units. If I wanted to stay in touch properly, I’d have to do a city search weekly to find the various Boots out there and ask their occupants about problems. Although the library offers internet access, and some people have phones, very few actually try to stay in touch with me.
3) Community builds are both an asset and a flaw. They give a community stake in these creations, and educate and connect people, but they also depend on people’s generosity and belief that these will help.
4) The Boots themselves are heavy, unwieldy, and highly visible. While some people are strong and idealistic enough to deal with this combination, other, more vulnerable people are not. They prefer to be as hidden as possible. They would appreciate the amenities and the privacy offered, but are put off by the public relations job essentially foisted upon occupants. They want to get back into normal apartments and live normal lives.
5) Visibility is both an asset and a flaw. The Boots are meant to be attractive, and certainly they have gotten many positive responses. However, they also attract negative attention. They attract attention, period. Homelessness is a volatile issue right now, and being visible can be scary.
Lastly, I know better now what resources are available to homeless people. Shelters aren’t the only solution out there: rent help, rent share, and various other services strive to keep people’s ordinary lives running smoothly until they catch their stride again. I think these projects are deserving of more time, attention, and money. I can help by spreading the word about Transition Project, 100k Homes, EDAR, and roommate services.
Lots of people have been interested in the project. Parts of it are still very good ideas. I’m going to take some months and see if I can untangle them from the pieces that are not.