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Help Rapid City’s Homeless with Tiny Houses… and Keep the Journey Museum!

KOTA reports that nine Rapid City agencies tracked 28 homeless residents and found they racked up $931,000 in costs for the city, county, and hospitals over one year. Given an estimated 2,000 homeless people in Rapid, the total annual cost of homeless services could be over $66,000,000.

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says one response to homelessness is the plan he promoted right after he won the June election, building tiny houses:

One idea: tiny homes. A village so to speak that would give people a safe place to sleep and a whole host of resources to help them get back on their feet.

“I intend to bring tiny homes,” Allender said. I believe that those homes should be used as a transitional independent living project rather than a permanent shelter for someone,” he continued [Katy Urban, “Helping the Homeless: A New Approach to Chronic Problem,” KOTA-TV, 2015.11.19].

Back in June, Allender spitballed prices for tiny houses at $3,000 to $7,000. Take the middle price of $5,000 (doable in our climate!), and 28 minuscule domiciles would cost $140,000. Spend another $200,000 to site those tiny houses in a cluster and provide a communal kitchen and bathroom, and you still have $590,000 left to cover the other expenses the city racks up caring for those homeless residents. Given that $400,000 of the expenses reported in that survey were health care, putting the homeless in regular, warm shelters could keep the homeless healthier and reduce support costs.

Tiny homes sound good—kicking out the Journey Museum does not:

Another idea: with the Cornerstone Rescue Mission running out of room, some community leaders believe the Journey Museum, which is housed in a city-owned building, should be kicked out and the Mission should move in [Urban, 2015.11.19].

That sounds like zero-sum thinking. Creating a new asset for homeless residents does not require giving up another community asset. The Journey Museum has had funding issues, but my in-house museum expert (she’s nine) has given the Journey Museum two thumbs up on two visits. Before foreclosing on this tourist attraction, Mayor Allender and the city should try a both-and solution, like some tiny-house villages on the various empty or blighted spaces one can find within walking distance of the Cornerstone Mission.

78 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    Reversing Rapid City homelessness is easier to fix than you think.

    Under ethics-free Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard homelessness in South Dakota has become epidemic.

    Extremist nutcase Mayor Steve Allender, the former police chief who led a “bunch of racists,” is at a loss to house the 100 or so homeless people in Rapid City. He’s even asked the Cornerstone Rescue Mission, a front for the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, to help.

    Back in 2013, NPR’s Planet Money reported on an experiment in Kenya.

    The results from the study are encouraging, says Johannes Haushofer, an economist at MIT’s Poverty Action Lab who was one of the study’s co-authors. “We don’t see people spending money on alcohol and tobacco,” he says. “Instead we see them investing in their kids’ education, we see them investing in health care. They buy more and better food.” Getting money made people happier, less stressed out. [What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?]

    After the 1972 Flood that wiped out Teepee Town and killed some 238 people, mostly poor American Indians, the feds gave Rapid City rent supports to house those displaced by the disaster.

    Hey, Rapid City: give these people without places to live $1000 vouchers and put them on Medicaid.

  2. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    Video lootery is the cause of South Dakota’s homeless epidemic. Source for that 2,000 Rapid City homeless number, Cory?

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-22

    2,000 is cited in the video by the newscasters in the lead-up to Urbans’ report.

  4. Shirley Harrington-Moore 2015-11-22

    Someone in Denver built a bunch of those tiny houses but the city came in and destroyed them. Be sure they meet code or whatever first.

  5. leslie 2015-11-22

    in the 70s-80s Rapid City built a civic center, an airport, a hospital, and a museum.

    Like the blue, white and red world trade center, sydney opera house and eiffel tower after the paris bombings, our Journey Museum was originally designed with an illuminating huge etheric “sail” reminiscent of a tipi or a prairie schooner or a crackling camp fire.

    this aura over the city from the top of the museum in the heart of the rapid creek campus “flood plain” (consisting of the high school, civic center, City hall and the Journey), would serve as an artistic “canvas” for illumination during important times, attracting attention from the top of M-Hill, the I-90 access into town at West Blvd., from Dinosaur Hill, from the top of Alex Johnson, TurnaK Tower (1st Federal), and the 10th floor hospital.

    of course given our courageous governor’s stance, leadership may not have lit it up like the rest of the world. johnny-come-lately board member adelstein bought himself a large naming right on the museum lobby, voted down the illuminating “sail” in a cost-cutting measure and out of the construction budget. McDonald’s Joan Kroc donated original her Russell and Remington western art collection but the board lost that too. the city has under-managed the museum to its detriment ever since. but not the civic center, airport (despite low traffic), high school or hospital. so much for Art LaCroix’s vision.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/14/sydney-opera-house-red-white-and-blue-world-cities-adopt-the-tricolore-paris-attack-reaction

  6. Spike 2015-11-22

    The Journey is an awesome museum. With great staff and a great board. Its all about location. If the Journey was out on I-90 or on Mt. Rushmore road it would be visited by 10s of thousands of more people.
    People that want it closed are mistaken.

    The community culture on the rez’s means that there aren’t very many “homeless” people because family or friends shelter people in need.
    But 10-20 people in the home sure is rough.
    1000 statewide but KOTA says 2000 in RC? There are not 2000 homeless in Rapid City from what I can see. I have spent time looking.
    Video lootery definitely contributes to the lower n middle class financial problems. People have hope for a jackpot, it’s a recreational escape and a way to socialize that unfortunately insidiously sucks the life out of people.

    There are many models around the country that try to deal with homeless. Tiny houses is surely the buzz word these days.
    Seattle has Urban rest stops also. There seems to be some good people and organizations helping the homeless and poor in Rapid City.

    How to bring these resources together n try to help not only the homeless but low income families or individuals struggling to make ends meet or get a foothold in RC to raise their families?

    My hope is that these groups are developing better coordination. I’ve been told this is happening. Above my pay grade. Is there such a thing as a comprehensive assessment for RC? Should include school systems for sure. Homeless is a general word tho. Some choose that lifestyle, get caught in it, others have bad breaks in life, never had the opportunity to experience a healthy home or suffer from mental disorders.

    We need to remember homeless people are in most larger communities. Rapid City is not alone with it’s concern. And the solutions are greater than the Cornerstone Mission can solve. (Larry, expound on the Bandito connection for me? Former director was a former bandido?)
    Webster Two Hawk froze to death in RC last year and it’s my understanding he was turned away from Cornerstone cause he was drinking. I always hoped that was not true. We need genuine treatment opportunities for some people, not just de-tox when drunk.
    I guarantee all of you, the more successful the programs, the more people will migrate to to Rapid City for help.

    Good article Cory, thanks, sure a change from the same-sex marriage debate.

  7. jerry 2015-11-22

    The Journey Museum was built with Vision 2012 monies and like all the rest of the museums in the country, it needs subsidizing to keep it running. The building would be a poor choice for anything other than a museum because of the way it looks with no windows for fire escape. The taxpayers paid the extra tax to build it as a museum, and it must stay that way with even more of a commitment from the taxpayers to make it more viable as leslie has stated.

    Regarding housing, there is lots of land that could be found in areas that are within walking distance to food shopping and public transportation as these folks do not have vehicles to get to those destinations. I speak of building housing units on top of existing parking at grocery stores. In Europe, that is how it is done, you place the parking under the buildings with residential on top of that. The parking would be covered, so the customers could enter shopping without going out into the weather. The residents could utilize the locations to access public transportation so they can find jobs to sustain themselves. I would imagine that the owners of large grocery stores would welcome the sale of their property for their own use after the sale. A win win for everyone, including taxpayers.

  8. leslie 2015-11-22

    i see “jerry” sponsored an exhibit on the rapid creek bike path entrance to the wilderness hiking trails above (think: Crazy Horse birthplace and vision quests) reminding of the power of flood flows. Perhaps not the same person, but both visioneers.

  9. mike from iowa 2015-11-22

    Housing the homeless,while it looks and sounds despicable to wingnuts, can only be cured by wingnuts in power turning to their good buddies in any for-profit business and watching them walk away with millions in taxpayer dollars. The money is soon gone,the problem remains and wingnuts throw up their hands in feigned amazement that throwing money at these problems doesn’t work.

  10. mike from iowa 2015-11-22

    Spike-I can hear wingnuts claiming that people won’t ever freeze if global warming is not a hoax. You can just about guarantee someone(s) somewhere will be spouting that as gospel from Fake Noize.

  11. Roger Elgersma 2015-11-22

    Five percent of the homeless are extremely expensive to the county. But do not do the math if they are all that bad because there are a lot of homeless who do not cause any trouble and live very cheap. Just like all rich guys are not arrogant bully Donald Trumps.

  12. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    Spike, in the 70s Dan Island built a home on Strawberry Hill south of Deadwood with ill-gotten proceeds but lost it to asset forfeiture after his conviction for felonies and a plea agreement leading to his purported conversion to christianity. Haven’t found the case yet: maybe Newland can point us to it.

  13. Richard Schriever 2015-11-22

    Boy those “tiny homes” sure are cute and appealing to the romantic side of us – aren’t they? But they are also inefficient uses of land, building materials and utilities. For the same price one could build a much more economically and energy efficient apartment/dorm with individual kitchenettes. Put a garden in the yard. Yeah, I know, it wouldn’t be “cute and appealing”.

  14. bearcreekbat 2015-11-22

    The RC Journal recently reported that Ray Hildebrand purchased the huge Imperial Inn and plans to demolish it. My first thought was what a terrific building for helping the homeless instead. It seems a real waste just to destroy an existing resource that could be used to benefit our needy community members.

  15. jerry 2015-11-22

    bearcreekbat, several years ago, I was in that building with some that wanted to put in assisted living facilities there. There is a problem with updating the building to codes and there is also the problems that lie with safety for a domicile. In the end, nothing happened and it has stayed the way it is until the owner passed recently. The problem with the place and area now is that it really is also a food desert with shopping for basic needs several blocks away. The access to shopping is also hindered by crossing a couple main streets that are extremely busy. There was a supermarket in close proximity to this building, but that has moved on after shafting taxpayers to pay for road construction that was not necessary. A couple of two or three story buildings like the School of Mines is now constructing, would be the ticket. Supermarket parking areas for these buildings would also be a winner.

  16. grudznick 2015-11-22

    There are far more than 100 homeless in Rapid City. I have counted more as recently as an outing last summer along the creek.

    The Journey museum is ok as long as it can exist without government subsidy.

    Video lottery, bless it for keeping property taxes lower than they would otherwise be, is not a social event. You ever see those morons sitting at the machines jibber jabbing? No, they sit there in the dark going beep-beep-beep pounding 1/3 of their money into paying our property taxes, drinking another third, and that leaves them 33% to buy potato chips and gluten-laded snack foods to feed their kids.

    These are the people who need the pay-day loans that some people would take away, or at least limit by capping the interest at 18%.

  17. bearcreekbat 2015-11-22

    Jerry, if the building is too dilapidated to bring up to code, then I can see the problem. Yet it is hard to imagine that repairing it would be more costly than destroying the entire building and replacing it with a new building.

    If the building could be made usable and safe, I would think that the lack of a grocery store nearby could be remedied by converting the bar area in the basement into a food bank providing groceries and a kitchen to make meals to residents (wasn’t there a restaurant there at one time?).

  18. Les 2015-11-22

    It does get a little tiring of engineers that couldn’t engineer their way home in the dark telling us how repairing is more costly than a new structure as in the civic center debacle.

    Europe has continuously brought 500 year old structure to date and code. Why not us?

  19. grudznick 2015-11-22

    The Journey museum is not going to go away so a bunch of ne’er-do-wells can pee on the rocks and sit and watch football on the big screen.

  20. jerry 2015-11-22

    In most cases, it is always cheaper to bring it down rather than to try to update it to current codes. Yes, there was/is a restaurant there but it had some issues in the past as well. I do not know what the plans are for that space, but it could be used for more government building or for something to do with the School of Mines.

    The food kitchen is a very good idea for those that would live there, but I am leaning towards trying to bring these folks into society as the workers they once were. What I see in a soup kitchen is that you can just stay here and not worry about anything, we will feed you and shelter you, which is a good thing. I think we should also try to encourage those folks to seek employment for their pride.

  21. grudznick 2015-11-22

    Some of them were never workers. I’m thinking bus tickets are the cheapest plan.

  22. jerry 2015-11-22

    Les, in the buildings that I see, here are some of the issues. The buildings there do not require the same kinds of codes we have here. Doors and the way they open for an example, are not what we require for passage. Elevators are very difficult to install and must be a stand alone, when allowed, and then on the exterior of the building. In some of the buildings that were once used by wealthy patrons, they did have elevators in the building but those would be hard pressed to match what our requirements are. Windows are not egress at all, so that is a big deal. Heating and cooling systems are not in these buildings as well as a central system. A furnace is non existent. What I am seeing though is leaving the facade and then building new behind it. The historical significance for many of these buildings lie in the exterior facade. One of the main reasons for this kind of construction lies in the way cranes are used. It is kind of cool to see that kind of renovation and I look forward to seeing that in my travels in those countries. Anyway, the architects forbid you to just knock a building down to put up something else without one helluva fight, there must be a good reason to knock it down.

  23. bearcreekbat 2015-11-22

    grudz, I suspect you are trolling, but I’ll respond anyway – your comments about human beings who are down on their luck and homeless are totally misinformed and sickening.

  24. grudznick 2015-11-22

    They are not “down on their luck”, Mr. bat. There will always be a segment of the population that is mentally ill or for whatever reason make really bad life choices that result in them living on the street or being criminals. We should house them in supervised dormitories with the bare minimum of amenities. We should not house them in the Journey Museum.

  25. jake 2015-11-22

    Perhaps “Tiny Homes” deserve a try. And , perhaps, Allender is sincere; at least I can hope! Less taxpayer funds would be spent on this concept than subsidized corporate welfare disguised as civic improvement like the ‘TIFS” we have seen so popularized! Public infrastructure improvements designed to improve cor[orate contractor bottom lines fail in their attempts to improve ‘human condition’ but do pass $$$$ to some few.

  26. grudznick 2015-11-22

    Tiny homes, my tight doopa. How about big dormitories? On East North Street. Make the state put them up.

  27. Douglas Wiken 2015-11-22

    Rapid City building and zoning is hampering development unless you are very rich and very connected.

    There should be exit ramps off Haines? to the City Arena and to the Journey Museum. The hill is a natural for underpass so there is no need for traffic crossing street. Of course, a problem is another city zoning issue when they allowed Adelstein? to build apartments next to the busy street and mostly in the way of improved traffic flow.

    I had driven past both the city arena and Journey without knowing either were there. All I saw was Holdiday House or whatever., There is not a single indication on the east side of the arena indicating that it is anything but a large warehouse. There is next to nothing indicating where the Journey is. Rapid City gets rapped in reviews for mediocre signing, and it never seems to improve.

    As for low-cost housing, tip-up concrete panels could be used to make very durable facilities with low cost. The technology could be similar to tip up bunker silo walls, but poured in two layers with foam insulation between.

    As others have indicated, Europe has 500 year old buildings still in use. Here the powers that be look at anything over 50 years old as something to demolish. Put the homeless to work repairing the place.

  28. Les 2015-11-22

    I’ll throw a little devils advocate, bear. I had a good will mindset toward the cornerstone prior to a holiday some years back and called them to find their needs. I backed a van in with the request and the guy in charge called for help. My gifts of basic staples were minimized every 2 out of 3 items because they didn’t fit the appetite of the helper.

    I recall a few years back in Ft Collins the good hearted folks bringing expensive wine and similar cost delicacies to the homeless under a bridge when they could have fed a thousand for the cost.

    Grudz is not all wrong nor are we.

    I fear the solutions are not pretty.

  29. Les 2015-11-22

    They have dome housing similar to what you are speaking of Doug. A balloon shot with concrete is the form and then a spray insulation. Low cost and very efficient with large open center areas for mass gatherings. They are using them for dorms, condos and office buildings.

  30. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    The Superdome worked so well during Katrina.

    $20 says there are fewer than 200 homeless in Rapid City. Give them all $1000 and let them make their own choices about how to face another brutal Black Hills winter.

  31. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    these people are refugees.

  32. grudznick 2015-11-22

    Why not just give your $1,000 straight to Prairie Market, Lar?

  33. grudznick 2015-11-22

    We should shut down Prairie Market, as they are the evil purveyors.

  34. bearcreekbat 2015-11-22

    Les, I spent many years working with homeless folks in western SD, and was involved with the Cornerstone Mission from the very get go with Dave Adams. For two years before Adams moved to Rapid Several of my friends and I worked with the Mother Butler Center to provide a place for the homeless to sleep and hot soup during winter nights. The City provide cots and blankets and we provided soup and volunteers.

    In all these years I was not once treated with disrespect by a homeless person or Mission worker, although I was treated with disrespect many times by people sharing grudz’s attitude toward the poor. I am sorry about what happened to you when you contributed.

    People are people, whether homeless or not, and there are mostly good people and a few bad apples. I found those in need to be the most appreciative and grateful of any other group.

  35. jerry 2015-11-22

    The 500 year old buildings in Europe were built with masons and stone cutters that were so talented that there was zero tolerance Doug. You can see many cathedrals in France, Spain and Portugal that have stood the test with the exception of Lisbon where a huge earthquake changed the place. The buildings here that are cookie cutters, were never meant to last. The historic ones have had a lot of attention or they would be in the rubble pile.

  36. Spike 2015-11-22

    Grudznick, I am betting your isn’t “doopa” isn’t very tight.

    Really what you want is to put us on a reservation n build a fence around it.

    The thought of you driving around looking down your nose at my relatives disgusts me.

    Dougs right on about Journey and Civic Center marketing.

    And thanks Bear for your efforts.

    I got an idea grudznick. …I will buy you a bus ticket to Phoenix n you can insult n solve the homeless problems among all those useless white people on the streets there. They are the same color as you so maybe you will be more sympathetic.

    But your probaby proud of that.

  37. grudznick 2015-11-22

    Mr. Spike, my comments were about white, male, homeless people. I did expect that some racist would jump into this, but what on earth have you been smoking?

  38. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    grud: your slanderous trolling is south dakota’s finest racist trope. may gaia find you in your bed and smite you down.

  39. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    there, i gave you some attention, grud. i will buy a ticket to watch your public self-immolation with bacon grease as the accelerant: work for you?

  40. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    But Doyle Estes doesn’t need added bacon fat to set himself ablaze: he’s grud’s boar for the spit.

  41. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    who else?

  42. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    you miserable bass.

  43. larry kurtz 2015-11-22

    i plow the road then cory builds adobes from clay in the windrow. don’t ever forget it, people.

  44. Roger Cornelius 2015-11-22

    The Imperial is in terrible condition and needs to come down, there are parts of the building that haven’t been used in years and have serious electrical and plumbing problems that have damaged the structure.
    The remaining part of the structure is used primarily by Rapid City transient population as weekly and monthly rentals.
    Ray Hildebrand is a developer as evidenced by his turning downtown Rapid City into a destination point Ray and his daughter will likely turn the area into some sort retail operation.

  45. Roger Cornelius 2015-11-22

    Again, grudz is promoting misconceptions and stereotypes about the homeless, his assertion that he can walk through Memorial Park and count 100 homeless people is absurd. How do you know what homeless look like, grudz? There are probably some homeless people that dress better than we do.
    The notion that we should put homeless people on a bus to become another city’s problem is cruel, these are likely South Dakota and Rapid City residents that grudz would like to separate from their families.
    Homeless people come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and from every economic demographic you can imagine.
    It is the street people that we need to concern ourselves with, these are people that are on a blacklist at Cornerstone and live under bridges and vacant houses. Their lives and health matter or it should.
    The last thing any homeless person needs is judgment and condemnation.

  46. Spike 2015-11-22

    Grudznick don’t insult me. Your a loser. I don’t smoke drink or do drugs. Neither do the amazing members of my family and extended family. We pray for rednecks like you. Go hang out with Powers

    Your not fooling me. You want to push till somebody reacts then you can call me a racist. Pretty sad. I bet I have more non indian friends n relationships than you have native friends.

    You say mean things about homeless people that’s pretty chickenshit where I come from. Doesn’t forward the conversation, just distracts from what Cory is trying to do here.
    Bye

  47. Donald Pay 2015-11-22

    I walked and biked a lot on the bike path in Rapid City where the hard case homeless folks ended up. I never had a problem with them, but I know a number of women were harassed and didn’t feel safe, especially at night. Most of the people were hardcore substance abusers, or mentally ill. Many were veterans. A few were aggressive panhandlers, but most just wanted to be left alone.

    I lived near Roosevelt Park, and my daughter played there. It is just north of the bike path and homeless folks wandered through. Mostly it was ok, but you could never be sure. We were in a neighborhood watch group and our concerns were mostly the drug use. It was actually dealers living in nearby houses that were our major issue, not the users. Violence was not a problem, though with dealers in the neighborhood, you worried about that.

    I would say the tiny house idea can be a solution for some of the homeless. We’ve had the program in Madison, WI for over a year and it’s worked for some, didn’t work for others. Those who have mental illnesses that cause them to be belligerent aren’t going to succeed in a tiny house development. But for a number of folks it gives them the needed push they need to improve their situation.

  48. leslie 2015-11-23

    richardschriever-“cute an appealing ” is code for “self-esteem”-a big part of the homeless solution. it doesn’t have to be tiny homes unless tried and true. imo

    hey, grudz is not “cute” any more!

  49. Jake Cummings 2015-11-23

    The point in time (PIT) count that Mr. Kurtz cited utilizes homeless Standards 7 and 11 described on pages 7 and 8 of this HUD PIT methodology guide (https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/PIT-Count-Methodology-Guide.pdf). You will also notice that page 30 of the HUD guide excludes those living with friends and family (e.g., “doubled up”) and those in institutions (e.g., jails, detox, etc.), which were likely included in the 2,000 person figure cited in the KOTA video.

    Dr. Dennis Culhane is one of the leaders in researching homeless service “super utilizers” and factors/considerations to be aware of that can impact costs/savings estimates. Much of his work can be found here: http://works.bepress.com/dennis_culhane/; suffice it to say that as with any estimate, there are margins of error, particularly when we see disparate homeless numbers being cited. More specifically, 247 homeless individuals in Pennington County’s 2015 PIT (data here: http://www.housingforthehomeless.org/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=158&id=154_168f2246c78af8d37517e083ec92fd58&lang=en&task=download&view=item) versus the 2,000 person figure from the video.

  50. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    Thank you, Mr. Cummings. Did you grow up in Deadwood?

  51. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Roger E, I like your point about the math on costs per homeless person. $33K+ per person seems like a lot. I wonder if the 28-person sample tracked for those costs was a biased sample, consisting of homeless people who hit the city and county’s radar by accessing indigent health care payments or interacting with law enforcement. I can easily see what Roger E is saying, that there may be numerous homeless or “under-housed” individuals who stay out of sight (fall through the cracks?) and live very cheaply.

    That said, could we focus publicly funded tiny houses (publicly funded, Shirley, meaning the city would pay attention and follow its own building code) on serving those high-cost homeless individuals and still see a reduction in overall costs?

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Richard’s point about efficiency is worth considering: why would we prefer tiny individual domiciles to a single apartment complex providing the same housing with less use of construction materials and energy? Do separate houses, whatever size, provide some psychological advantage for residents? Or maybe a safety advantage?

  53. barry freed 2015-11-23

    The Homeless or someone who chooses to be constantly drunk, thus underemployed in our artificially expensive society should be seen as mentally ill and cared for with a warm room and basic food, by this, the richest country in the World. Some on this blog think they commit no crimes and they get no Government assistance, but they are fooling only themselves. We are all criminals, we all get help, and until we reel in the Healthcare Complex, are only one or two cancer diagnosis’s away from being homeless.

    The Executive Golf Course, one of nine golf courses in RC at last count, is the obvious place for the community of small houses. Small houses have an advantage over communal apartments to the person who is trying to avoid negative influences while quitting a self destructive behavior that contributed to their situation. However, instead of sleeping sheds, they should be small homes constructed of Styrofoam sprayed with stucco, R-19 walls/ R-38 ceilings, Large windows and glass doors on the south side for solar gain heat and therapy, steel interior walls, their own facilities consisting of a shower/stool like those found in RV’s, a stove/fridge combination, and storage in the attic. Build them the size of large jail cells with a small privacy fenced yard, with slightly larger homes for couples. The property is prime for planting fruit trees and bushes throughout the community. For socializing and group therapy programs, have a community Center and garden area.

    A $1 per month lease gives the occupants Rights in their home while making occupancy dependent on community approval.

    There are homeless people committing petty crimes at this moment in hopes to “winter it out” in the County Jail for 3 months. That will cost us at least $8,000 for each one of them, and until they do get caught, they are shoplifting and causing other damage to the community.

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    I’m intrigued by Barry’s sense of energy-smart construction, as well as the notion that small houses offer an advantage to homeless individuals trying to go straight and avoid negative influences.

    Could we extend that $1-per-month lease concept to a flexible rent-to-own policy? Could we let the occupants build up a sort of tiny home equity, not enough to qualify for mortgage on a regular house, but maybe enough that if they stay there for a certain amount of time, pay in a certain amount on a lease with the city, keep the tiny house in good shape, maybe even make some improvements, residents could qualify for an equity check from the city when they move out, maybe enough to cover a security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment or rental house?

  55. jerry 2015-11-23

    The small housing is a good idea, the location is forbidden by the feds as these are in flood plains.

  56. barry freed 2015-11-23

    The cost of moving that excess dirt off-site would more than pay for the community.

  57. jerry 2015-11-23

    I thought that they tried to get that done for a shopping center, but the Federals rejected it as they paid for that land after the 1972 flood to always be a greenway. Has that changed?

  58. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    President Thomas Jefferson believed cities were dens of crime and debauchery. Rapid City seems destined to perpetuate the failures of urban living when much simpler solutions to homelessness sit at the tip of Mayor Allender’s pen.

    Let Rapid City’s refugees make their own decisions.

  59. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    How is creating a ghetto, tiny houses or otherwise, good for anyone?

  60. barry freed 2015-11-23

    Cory,
    If a person is living rent and utility free, it allows for savings towards a “real” home of their own, and that should be the goal, so their small house can be made available to the next aspiring person. It can be very difficult to get a job without an address of your own. Without a job, it is impossible to get your life back on track in any meaningful way.
    Jerry,
    Apparently the Greenway rules have changed as there has been a huge amount of building within a few yards of the Executive Golf Course in the last 10 years. I’ve been told, eight feet above the flood plain is sufficient.

  61. barry freed 2015-11-23

    Why would it have to be a ghetto? Covenants and the $1 month-to-month Lease allows for drastic action by the Community if needed.
    I envision Miniature Arts and Crafts Style houses in a miniature community with green grass and space between them? Lots of fruit trees. Foot traffic only with Handicap accessible sidewalks, easily plowed by the City, and lit, on camera, parking lots on the outer reaches of the property.

  62. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    The goal is to help the household resolve their crisis, secure short-term financial or rental assistance as needed, and access ongoing sources of support in the community in order to remain housed. If the individual or family is unable to stay in their existing housing, the prevention program helps the household to find a safe, reasonably affordable and adequate, alternative housing arrangement.

    http://usich.gov/usich_resources/solutions/explore/homelessness_prevention

  63. Jake Cummings 2015-11-23

    Glad to help Larry; some would say I’ve yet to “grow up,” but no, I was raised in Pierre and a couple other SD towns (personally, I like to claim Brookings, as I was born there and went to State). Are there some Cummingses in Deadwood who exemplify the rabble depicted in the HBO series whom I remind you of?

  64. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    Jake, I did some work for Deadwood’s Kevin Cummings a number of years ago. Just curious if you had a local connection.

  65. Douglas Wiken 2015-11-23

    Jerry, there are also homes with thatched roofs that have survived since Shakespeare’s time. His wife’s family home still exists.

    Tip up concrete with integral insulation could be very energy efficient and nearly indestructible. With concrete walls between units, noise should also not be a problem. Freed’s comments on siting with south windows, etc. makes sense for homes of all sizes. I am always amazed to see people build a house with a street to the north, with almost all north-facing glass and since it is toward the street, almost always with view blocked by curtains, shades, blinds, etc for privacy from the street side. Couple that with tiny windows to the south and main entry to the north, and it is no wonder we are so dependent of fossil fuels. Canadians have build homes that can stay comfortable with a couple 1500 watt heaters and can go several days without electricity and little sunshine in freezing weather and inside temperatures will not drop below 55F degrees.

  66. barry freed 2015-11-23

    Jerry, a little less judgement, please. You assume Homeless equates to no monetarily gainful endeavours. That is incorrect. Your us.gov link is all warm and fuzzy, what is the address of this “affordable” housing in Rapid to which some Washington bureaucrat refers ? Many would like to know. The other link requires them to quit any and all self-destructive behaviour and then the State will help. I would contend that wanting nothing more from life but the next drink, is mental illness.

    They construction outfit didn’t have any trouble making that 40 foot hill of dirt, moving it a few hundred yards to raise the Golf Course 8 feet would be easy.

    A boyhood friend, the son of Teachers, joined the Army and went to Germany. He was in the wrong place when something happened and even though the cab driver who was robbed testified that my friend had tried to intervene, the Military is very unforgiving of such things. He went to the brig, followed by a Dishonorable Discharge. If you don’t know, that DD follows one for life making it very difficult to improve their lot in life.
    He doesn’t drink or drug, but ended up in the Mission as he was underemployed. His parents had passed years before and he had no one in his life. He did find a part time job, but still had to live in the Mission, as rent in Rapid is so expensive. There are people who are wanting to work and could make good use of a change in luck. The rest are brothers in need of keeping whether they quit drinking or not.

  67. jerry 2015-11-23

    That is correct Mr. Wiken, I am not sure those would last in your neck of the woods. In Yemen, the houses are built with mud and have withstood the test of time for centuries. They periodically need some attending to as do all buildings, including Bill’s thatched roof home.

    But in some cases, the buildings have fallen into disrepair. You can see these along the highways of farmsteads that have been abandoned or have gone into disrepair over a number of reasons. The Canadians build their homes much like the way we build ours according to them. http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/61010.pdf?fr=1414012864483
    What I see are exposed foundations that radiate the cold, inefficient windows, poor insulation, failed siding and poor ventilation. If you really want to see an energy efficient home, look to Enercept of Watertown as the idea of what works. These could be made at any size and work well with the weather influx’s we have here in South Dakota. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-kPUQYgKJ4

  68. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    I raise: $3000 stipend to those who qualify, more for families and veterans. Refugees have a human right to make their own choices about where they want to live.

  69. jerry 2015-11-23

    Mr. Freed, if I sound condescending, I do apologize as that was not the intent of the news from Utah. What they have tried there is working, that is all. It has always been my belief that if something works, it is a good thing to take a look at it to see why. I have often felt that a golf course is a waste of space and resources. It takes a lot of water to keep that lawn up that would do much better with planting gardens there. I also still believe that utilizing the existing areas we park our cars in for shopping would work will too. The high cost of utility development would be just about eliminated, saving a considerable amount of money.

  70. leslie 2015-11-23

    1. An annual homeless count shows there are more than 7,000 homeless people in Hawaii, making it the highest per capita state for homelessness in the nation, [a state of 1.4 million]

    Hawaii’s declaration comes on the heels of similar actions taken by the cities of Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. Using emergency proclamations to tackle homelessness is something of a new phenomenon, said Maria Foscarinis, the executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty “…reflects the unfortunate reality that homelessness is a national crisis.” http://www.marketplace.org/2015/10/28/wealth-poverty/hawaii-grappling-homeless-emergency

    Service providers say 40 percent of Hawaii’s homeless people are working at least part-time, 30 percent need some housing assistance and 30 percent have mental health or substance abuse problems that prevent them from maintaining a home.

    Kaneso’s job at a McDonald’s nets her $8.75 an hour for her family but it doesn’t come close to what she needs to pay rent in a market where a two-bedroom apartment goes for $1,800 a month.

    Her descendants were dislocated by American nuclear testing in the south pacific. Honolulu Observer Reporter 11.08.15***

    2. Chattanooga, TN , pop. 174,000, cooler like central new mexico, has:

    Over the course of a year, more than 4,000 discrete individuals experienced homelessness in the Chattanooga region, including almost 1,000 children, down to 635 chronically homeless (2015).

    On any given night, approximately 758 homeless individuals reside in shelters, transitional housing programs and public spaces in Chattanooga.

    In 2003 Mayor Bob Corker unveiled a nine-point plan for reducing homelessness in the region by expanding permanent housing opportunities, increasing access to services, preventing homelessness and improving coordination through a Regional Interagency Council on Homelessness. chattanooga chamber; community kitchen

    “homelessness does not seem to conform to any stereotype. It is true that many of the homeless do suffer from mental illness and addiction, but most do not. Most will never be seen or identified as homeless, and they should not be. Homelessness does not define them – it is simply a condition. The homeless among us are our neighbors, our coworkers, our family and our friends. They are victims of circumstance which have resulted in a condition of homelessness.” chattanooga community kitchen

    A Bush administration voucher program was to provide free or low-cost permanent housing for the homeless under “The Blueprint to End Chronic Homelessness in the Chattanooga Region in 10 Years.” That would have been last year.

    Federal funding was for three years to provide permanent housing to 50 street people. Chattanooga was the smallest of 10 cities nationwide to receive the grant money. But three years later and about halfway through the blueprint process, Chattanooga’s subsequent mayor, proposed a shelter – not permanent housing – in what he billed as a one-stop shop for homeless help at the Farmers’ Market, near the Community Kitchen on 11th Street where many homeless services already are located.

    Many who work with the homeless said the new mayor’s office shifted focus and attention from the blueprint. The Corker plan’s premise was that when the homeless have homes, they can better take advantage of counseling, addiction treatment and other services to help them become productive. Over the ensuing years, ending homelessness here stalled. Tent cities sprang up as shelters and vouchers dwindled and recession gripped the economy. The shelter was never built. Instead a police precinct went up on the land bought for it. Today there are fewer shelter beds than a decade ago. Opinion Times 6.17.14

  71. leslie 2015-11-23

    “someone who chooses to be constantly drunk”. barry, likely that is not how it works. alcoholics average losing 25 productive years before arresting alcoholism, if ever.

  72. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    exactly, leslie. maybe we are all refugees.

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