May 11, 2014

"Austin’s Utopian Homeless Village Is Becoming A Reality."

"Austin’s 27-acre Community First Village will eventually house 250 formerly homeless and disabled people. Can they build a real 'hobo’s paradise'?"

At the link: 1. Plenty of photos, and 2. A refreshing resistance to using the phrase "Keep Austin Weird," which other writers writing anything about Austin are incapable of resisting. Kudos to Buzzfeed writer Summer Anne Burton.

As long as we're celebrating Summer Anne:

1. "Watch this delightful video and keep track of how many songs you can immediately identify."

2. "15 Photographs That Definitively Prove Puppies Have Always Been Adorable."

3. "What’s Your Sex Number?/The ultimate 'purity test' for the modern age." This is a checklist, the last item of which was "Gotten turned on while taking a purity test?" I'll just add my own questions: Did you check all the way to the end AND click to get your number OR did you stop at some point? If the former, what was your number? If the latter, did you stop at a particular questions (and if so, which question) or did you stop because you got nervous about whether somebody was collecting and preserving this information about you (and if so, who did you picture getting what information and what did you think they'd do with it)? And that's the difference between me and Summer Anne. She's much more fun. You should call me Winter Ann.


NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

We'll never see a follow up story. What will it look like in a year?

"Homeless village" is Newspeak for "shanty town."

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

The sex number quiz is too much work. It gave me a headache.

Unknown said...

Great stuff! I note that the first responsibility is to pay rent..... I wonder if they've thought of getting W and Laura involved? This is the kind of operation they admire.

grackle said...

Just a cursory reading of the homeless village article. Communes come in many guises. I wanted to start one myself back in my 20's. I dropped it because my wife wisely saw it as a stupid idea. After a short while I realized she was absolutely right. The things we do when we are young ... I wish them luck. Doesn't hurt to try. Let's hope this doesn't turn out like most utopias.

My sex number? None of your business. To paraphrase the summing up paragraph: Sexy without being freaky. It's meaningless anyway.

YoungHegelian said...

They didn’t want the work of tending to the dozens of chickens on site, to feel like drudgery, so the chicken pen and coop is cheerful, colorful, and bright.

Oh, Lordy, is this endeavor doomed or what?

Taking care of farm animals is drudgery. Having a bright colored shovel to shovel out the chicken shit doesn't make it smell any sweeter, trust me.

They're really better served to find the residents jobs in service industries in town (which apparently they are) than try to foist part-time farming on them. It'll be enough of a task just to do regular ground maintenance without adding truck farming.

I also hope they've rounded up some mental health professionals to help the residents. Are there people on the street because of economic or personal bad luck? Yes, definitely. But for many who end up on the street long term, there are also mental health issues that keep them there.

n.n said...

They should follow the Amish model, which is sustainable, and has a chance of mitigating corruption.

Illuninati said...

I liked the Homeless Village. Follow up in one year would be nice. If it still looks good in a year then it is an experiment worth repeating.

Bob R said...

I agree, the sex number quiz was too much work. But it was interesting how many things on the list were technologically impossible while I was dating. Maybe sex WAS invented in 2001.

William said...

Being homeless is more often the result rather than the cause of emotional or addiction problems, but those problems are certainly not lessened by being homeless.......It's a worthy effort, and there's a chance that someone's life will be better because of it. OK, not likely, but possible.

m stone said...

"...the homeless are much more vulnerable to violent crime than they are likely to perpetrate it..."

I can believe that.

The next economic step up is lower class. Then things historically change.

They tried "integrating" various income levels---not homeless---in Reston, Virginia years ago, a larger planned community. Other places too. Crime spiked and middle and upper class folks moved out.

I hope it works here.

Any success stories to report?

roadgeek said...

I live in Austin, and no one in the neighborhood of the new homeless encampment wanted this abomination anywhere nearby, but in Austin all the crap like homeless encampments and animal shelters and subsidized housing somehow always ends up on the east side of Austin and Travis County, while nothing ever ends up on the west side, where all the money lives.

Interesting to note that last weekend Austin-Travis County EMS responded to nearly 40 calls for K2 poisoning; apparently some dealer brought in some K2 from Dallas and was selling it to the homeless near the downtown ARCH and Salvation Army shelters. The K2 was extremely potent; the homeless became catatonic and then became extremely combative with the EMS techs.

Somehow these episodes never make it into the feel-good articles about our newest utopia. The neighbors out there are terrified of just this thing happening in their otherwise quiet part of Travis County.

But hey! Some progressives got to feel good about themselves, right? So it's all good, I suppose.

Sam vfm #111 said...

. A refreshing resistance to using the phrase "Keep Austin Weird," which other writers writing anything about Austin are incapable of resisting.

That is because Austin is weird and this "village" is just more proof. Austin will pour millions of dollars into this place. Money that could have been spent on mental heath for these people.

These people aren't in trouble because they are homeless, they are homeless because they are mentally ill. Often drugs are the problem.

The Godfather said...

When I was practicing law in DC, I did a fair amount of pro bono work on homelessness. The problem with most of the homeless is not that they don't have homes. The problem is that they are drug or alcohol dependent, or mentally ill. There was a well publicized case in DC in the early 2000's where a warm-hearted woman died and left her house to a homeless guy who frequented her neighborhood. A month or so later, he was back on the street, a "homeless" man who owned a half-million dollar house.

I represented some non-profits that worked with the homeless to address their problems, get them clean and sober, get them job training, etc. These organizations and the professionals who worked for them did wonderful work, and brought lots of people off the streets and into a normal life. But the successes were the minority: in the majority of cases, the clients reverted.

We need to do what we can to address the problems of the world in which we live. We need to do so intelligently and thoughtfully, and not blinded by ideology or unreasonable hopefulness. And when we fail, as we often will, we should keep going, because we'll help those that we help.

Scott M said...

Sooo much great stuff in the mid-90's explosion of alt rock. Yes, yes, it started much earlier, but it was the mid-90's before there were widespread radio outlets to amp the genre up to eleventy.

Unknown said...

All I can say is they had better hope no ace of spades morons live nearby; concentrating the hobos makes hunting them less sporting but I'm sure morons would overlook that.

test said...

No "rape culture" tag?

madAsHell said...

How do they manage sewage?
How are they going to manage the mentally ill?

It looks great, but who is going to maintain that place. You don't

Joe said...

RE: The Shanty Town

What caught my eye was the size--it works out to 9 people per acre. That's not sustainable.

Michael K said...

"The problem with most of the homeless is not that they don't have homes. The problem is that they are drug or alcohol dependent, or mentally ill. "

Exactly. I used to take medical students to homeless shelters in downtown LA. The directors told us that 60% were psychotic and 60% were addicts. Half of each group is both. The situation homeless, living in their cars etc, are about 10% and children are immediately put in shelters.

Kirk Parker said...

BobR, Dowdified:

"I agree, the sex ... was too much work. "

(Sorry, dude, you loft a slow, easy pitch like that... how can I not hit it out of the park???)

SteveR said...

Good thing my Sexual Score is not based on gchat or Twitter

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

The most striking thing about the article (the village is doomed, any sane person knows that) is how extraordinarily condescending it is. Almost as if homeless people are large, friendly, mentally-handicapped folks. Liberals are retards.

Unknown said...

ghetto - noun - an area in a city where people of a particular type live, usually in poor conditions

I looked for synonyms, didn't see "utopian homeless village"


NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...


Some people don't or can't work. That's what's really going on. Focusing on lodging is a way to hide the reality. Giving houses away won't solve the problem, because it's behavior that defines homelessness, and that behavior is to not work even to the point of living on the street.

People who want to work and have the ability to do so aren't on the street very long. I've worked with three people who started with no place to live who fairly quickly moved out of their cars within a month of being employed. Poverty is awful, but the particular brand that involves living outdoors is an outlier with some different reasons behind it.

We used to call homeless men (and they're mostly men) "tramps," or "bums," "hobos," or "vagabonds," and so on. These were nouns, not adjectives.