Almost every community has an unsheltered sector. Communities want to help but no one has found the silver bullet that can solve the problem.
Some cities are experimenting with Safe Park projects where small numbers of Recreational Vehicles (RVs) can relocate to a safe and secure location fenced off from the surrounding neighbors and businesses with 24/7 security, access to social services, electricity, water, showers and sanitary facilities
Richmond recently approved such a program where $560,000 has been allocated for up to 25 RVs.
One of the problems facing communities trying to help the unsheltered is the high cost associated with each housing unit.
Richmond’s Safe Park program will expend $22,400 per RV.
A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle highlighted the high cost of Safe Sleeping Villages for tents. The cost per tent is more than $61,000 per year. [ Read the details: [ San Francisco Pays $61,000 a Year for One Tent in a Site to Shelter the Homeless. Why? ]
Contained in the article: “The average per-night cost — $190 — is $82 less than what the city pays to shelter someone in its homeless hotel program.”
That’s $61,000 per year to provide space and services for tents—which the residents must provide—or $99,280 per year per resident for a hotel room (which comes with a bed, flushable toilet and shower).
Richmond has a couple of Project Roomkey hotels housing the unsheltered with costs that are similarly high.
At what point will the more fortunate members of a community stand up and proclaim that there has to be a better way? At what point do they demand that the issue be handled in a more efficient, sustainable and less expensive manner?
The problem is not going away on its own but the funds being shoveled at it may.