It’s about time for a mission statement, right?
The mission of this project is pretty simple: to make living on the street more tolerable for EVERYBODY involved, and make people’s stay on the street shorter and less harrowing.
Boots provide shelter, and a dry, secure place to store one’s belongings. As trailers, it’s legal to park them on the street, and they (just barely) don’t violate the camping/sit-lie ordinances in Portland, so they’re legal space to exist. They have a stove, and a sink: you can heat up a dinner, or wash your hair. Someone can keep their clothes and food dry, stay warm at night, and park their belongings somewhere while they go out to a job, knowing that their stuff won’t be thrown away or stolen while they’re gone.
Building a Boot requires only basic building skills and simple tools. All the materials are easily found locally, except for the wheels, which I have to buy online. They’re incredibly cheap - only $300-$400.
Building a Boot is an opportunity for interaction! Since they’re so easy to build, it’s also easy to teach people the skills they need to do so. It’s also easy to talk about options for health care, work, and more permanent housing. The Boots can serve as long-term shelters, but they’re really meant to provide a step up to better things.
Decorating a Boot is an opportunity for community participation. These aren’t alien! You have input! You get to pick a design that’s fun to look at, and help make it a reality if you want. And if you really don’t want to see one, you can politely ask the occupant to move it to another street. It’s much easier to move one of these than to pack up and move a shopping cart, a tarp, a pile of cardboard, and three boxes of belongings.
So that’s the idea. These are Boots, because without boots it’s hard to find bootstraps to pull yourself up with.
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