Finally, Solution for Homelessness and Spiraling Housing Prices on Horizon
It's no secret that housing prices in desirable locations have been skyrocketing for the past few decades. As something that's often seen as a tenet of "generational warfare" between Baby Boomers and Millennials, housing prices is always a loaded topic. It's undeniable that homelessness is on the rise, a phenomenon that used to be handled by utilizing so-called "flop houses" through the 1950s or so.
However, the post-war economy was good to most, but veterans were left with the psychological toll. Many veterans developed disorders that would be called PTSD today but often went undiagnosed. This is what began to fuel the homeless epidemic. While drugs remained relatively uncommon outside pharmacies until the late 1950s, they are also one of the biggest drivers of homelessness. Some may contend that drug addicts should need to "get clean" before getting housing, while some argue the opposite. In the end, most people realize housing is indeed a human right, and it's immoral to not offer housing that someone who makes an honest living can reasonably afford each month. A group of builders may have come up with an answer to how to solve this issue.
3-D Printing Revolution
Yes, the same technology that has brought you many odd things you never asked for is delivering something quite useful: housing. A group of architects designed "little houses" for seniors and others who have difficulty paying for housing that can be printed at a very low cost and assembled quite easily.
Right now, this is a pilot program in Austin, Texas for seniors. Only six of the houses are being deployed in an experiment to see if a larger-scale effort would work. Using small houses to combat homelessness is nothing new; many cities have programs where the indigent can apply for cheaper or free housing if they agree to help maintain the housing, etc. This would make it so that the only commodity that some may have trouble affording would be land.
The creators hope it can help end the "RV Living" trend that's kicked off. Essentially, some people have gotten so fed up with the spiraling housing market that they've decided to just live in an RV and not have to pay rent. Of course, this is fine if someone has always wanted to do this. However, most people do it out of anger and desperation, not because they want to.
This idea sounds excellent in theory, but there are still some obstacles to conquer. Tiny houses are notorious for racking up housing code violations. Some cities are working to create a separate code for tiny houses to acknowledge that they literally cannot fit every component in that is required of traditional houses. Other cities seem fine with effectively banning this type of house.
It's also left to be seen what happens when there's a natural disaster. For example, if there were a tornado, would these houses hold their own, or would they get swept up in the air just like a plastic trash can? While some experiments are being conducted to answer these types of questions, it's too early to tell if these 3-D printed houses will pay off in the long run.
An Expanding Program
The way the 3-D printed housing program in Austin, Texas, works now is seniors and disabled people apply for a program and interview for spots. They are hoping to expand to geographically diverse areas. Especially areas that have been known for being impoverished, such as much of Appalachia, are getting the first crack at this new type of housing. Governments of these poor areas are already beginning to create incentives for entrepreneurs with businesses that can crank out cheap housing for the indigent, so there's no doubt they'd be open to a plan like this.
Will This Eradicate Homelessness?
While the program is very optimistic and shows promising potential results, it's important to remember that there is no single catch-all. Even in nations like Germany, where it is a human right to not be homeless, homeless people still exist. This is because systems are overloaded, they don't want to put up with bureaucracy behind it, or countless other reasons.
For now, all we can do is hope that this program turns out to be the affordable panacea it promises to be. Giving each person a real chance at living well is one of the best things for humanity.
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