Grass shacks, igloos, and common sense

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First came the proposal to have homeless folks live in grass shacks.  Perhaps well-intended, it was a no-go.

Then came the pitch for igloos from Alaska.  That’s really thinking outside the box.

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It sounds ridiculous, but the proposal to erect prefabricated white fiberglass domes that closely resemble actual igloos does look intriguing.  At a cost of about $9,500 each, and erected within hours using simple hand tools, the igloo-domes could really provide rudimentary housing for people who actually want and need housing.

The tricky part, of course, is finding a place to erect an igloo-village.

The City and County of Honolulu has taken an interesting approach by housing people in subdivided old metal shipping containers outfitted with windows and doors.  They seem to do the trick for some people and they seem awfully sturdy.

But one wonders if giant, heavy, recycled steel crates are really the best option.  Maybe igloos would really be better.

This is Hawaii.  Many of us, and our forebears, grew up in simple wooden plantation cottages.  Most were built in a matter of days for very little money yet lasted fifty years or more.

They weren’t fancy.  But they provided safe, decent, and dignified housing for hard-working people who struggled to make life better for the next generation.

Plantation house Dude.jpg

Would it really be that hard to set up simple groups of plantation-style cottages with shared restroom and cooking facilities as temporary housing for the homeless who really want to turn their lives around?  They could even be smaller and simpler than the ones we know so well.  There is land available.  And we are, after all, under a State of Emergency.

Practically anything would be better than the grimy tents and hovels that are popping up all over our sidewalks and parks.  We can do so much better, and we should.  We must.

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