Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Different survival strategies

Different survival strategies being used by different people.

Homeless Families Found Living in Storage Units
Pat Reavy, KSL.COM, 28 April 2012 (hat tip NC)

Last month, South Salt Lake police, the city fire marshal and the Salt Lake County Health Department found people living in at least five units at A-1 Storage, 3202 S. Davis Drive (460 West).
In one unit, officials found "a makeshift bedroom with food, clothing and other living accessories," according to a search warrant released Thursday. In another there were televisions, microwaves and lamps. "We also saw recliners, work stations, heaters and air conditioning units," police wrote.
Health officials also found human waste being stored in bottles and "presumably disposed of in an unknown manner," court records state. Multiple extension cords were also found running from a single outlet. At least one tenant had cut holes between the units to allow for movement.

I remember when I was in my early twenties, and I was telling some friends about some people I knew who used to live in a chicken coop converted to living quarters.  One of the group, piped up and said, yes we lived in one for a while when I was growing up.

The vandalism noted here makes me wonder about the quality of the people involved, but people are not always in a position to decide what type of roof they put over their heads.

Granted, these may not have been real sympathetic people, but I am a little bit at a loss for why it is better that people be sleeping under a bridge or in a culvert, than in a storage unit.  When I worked down in Peurto Rico (where granted it does not get real cold) people where quite happy to buy little storage units (the kind you buy at a big box hardware store), run an extension cord over from their neighbor (usually family) and use it for their living quarters.  They seemed happy.  It is not like they would do much but sleep there, and they had family around.

It looks like at some of the people were trying to pay for their units.  I understand the storage company not being thrilled with it, but from a larger societal point of view, is it better that they go beg for a place at a shelter.


PioneerPreppy said...

I can remember several years ago hearing about a few people living in a storage unit. I know my grandparents lived in a box car for a while in the early 50's while waiting for property to actually be available.

My guess is the main force behind government rules about it is the waste removal aspects and the health standards view. Once the numbers reach a point that the regs cannot be enforced however...

Stephen said...

Hard call. Health issues aside I, like you, would rather see them inside than out.

russell1200 said...

PP & S: There is no real easy answer. In Puerto Rico (where I have worked), like much of Latin America, if you don't move people out, you eventually you get a squatter village.

But the problem in the U.S. is that we regulate the rental and construction market to the point that the only new viable low end alternatives allowed appear to be HUD developments - often plopped down in some very nice neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Plus these people would help provide security for the other units in the area, being eye witnesses to vehicles and persons going into units.

I agree with the others above - out in the street or this, I think the unit would be better. AS LONG AS THEY TOOK CARE OF SANITATION THEMSELVES.

russell1200 said...

Anon: I think your last point is an important one. How do you enforce that kind of behaviour? It's a rental unit. The whole point is to have a very limited employee count for these units so that once you have them set up, the marginal cost is extremely low.