Re: Variations on low cost housing
From: Brian Bartholomew (
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 22:52:55 -0700 (PDT)
If the zoning allowed Japanese-style capsule hotels structured as condos:

These formerly-middle-class homeless people with jobs could be
homeowners again, instead of sleeping in their cars in an upscale
homeless squat.  When you defend zoning, this is what you defend.

        Mom forced to live in car with dogs
        By Thelma Gutierrez and Wayne Drash

        SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) -- Barbara Harvey climbs into
        the back of her small Honda sport utility vehicle and snuggles
        with her two golden retrievers, her head nestled on a pillow
        propped against the driver's seat.

        Californian Barbara Harvey says she is forced to sleep in her
        car with her dogs after losing her job earlier this year.

        A former loan processor, the 67-year-old mother of three grown
        children said she never thought she'd spend her golden years
        sleeping in her car in a parking lot.

        "This is my bed, my dogs," she said. "This is my life in this
        car right now."

        Harvey was forced into homelessness this year after being laid
        off. She said that three-quarters of her income went to paying
        rent in Santa Barbara, where the median house in the scenic
        oceanfront city costs more than $1 million. She lost her condo
        two months ago and had little savings as backup.

        "It went to hell in a handbasket," she said. "I didn't think
        this would happen to me. It's just something that I don't
        think that people think is going to happen to them, is what it
        amounts to. It happens very quickly, too."

        Harvey now works part time for $8 an hour, and she draws
        Social Security to help make ends meet. But she still cannot
        afford an apartment, and so every night she pulls into a gated
        parking lot to sleep in her car, along with other women who
        find themselves in a similar predicament.

        There are 12 parking lots across Santa Barbara that have been
        set up to accommodate the growing middle-class
        homelessness. These lots are believed to be part of the first
        program of its kind in the United States, according to

        The lots open at 7 p.m. and close at 7 a.m. and are run by New
        Beginnings Counseling Center, a homeless outreach

        It is illegal for people in California to sleep in their cars
        on streets. New Beginnings worked with the city to allow the
        parking lots as a safe place for the homeless to sleep in
        their vehicles without being harassed by people on the streets
        or ticketed by police.

        Harvey stays at the city's only parking lot for women. "This
        is very safe, and that's why I feel very comfortable," she

        Nancy Kapp, the New Beginnings parking lot coordinator, said
        the group began seeing a need for the lots in recent months as
        California's foreclosure crisis hit the city hard. She said a
        growing number of senior citizens, women and lower-and
        middle-class families live on the streets.


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