This is the story of a guy trying to help the homeless and humble. Merely storing the homeless doesn't help them; they're still homeless in their hearts.
Anyone can stay with us for 48 hours if we have the room. But after that the door stops unlocking; they need to find some way to be useful. Possibly donating [notice I didn't say 'selling'] blood or plasma, doing janitorial or educational work around the cluster, or community-service-type jobs in the area.
The longer and better they work, the larger and better the living space. Education is part of it, too; every week a small amount of time is required to study. Essentially it's a home-economics class most of the time, but I also want to help with reading, resume creation, and possibly computers...whatever we can teach.
When they stay with us:
- A client's room is his own
- He must remain productive somehow to keep it
- Anyone can stay for 48H in an emergency
- Failure is never the end
What happens when a productive client gets caught on a PTR, fight, or has to stay in the hospital? Our staff photographs the contents of his unit and moves it to a "Bye-Bye Box" that opens with his key. Even if it's months later. They can start again: failure is not the end. Failure is why we're here.
Sure, it's monitored by computer, but it's run by humans.
Kinds of Clients
While most of the documentation talks about clients from the general public, our first clients just might be veterans. If they are, there will be rules special to them. Including being open only to honorably-discharged veterans only.
There's grant money for helping vets re-integrate into society. With us, they can be gathered in an area, in separate units, surrounded by people kinda like them; men and women returning from war, trying to remember what life back home is like. When people see an example of the idea in reality, donations should come for the generic homeless community, too.
We aim to create "Clusters" of these "Units" to hold people and get them back on their feet. Usually on wasted gas station property where the owners can't sell or build due to environmental concerns. They get a write off, we get a community.
Local businesses will then find workers either cheap or free, who're interested in keeping their homes, available for various jobs. And in case of a Second Great Depression, creating these units will even create jobs. Everyone wins.
If you want to become an editor for this wiki, send email to WheelDweller@gmail.com
Kinds of Payment
While I love the idea of cash (which turns this project into a hotel) I think using it for only part of the cost is wise. Drug dealers could otherwise buy themselves in. I want to the people here to get out and actually do something. Money could easily take that away.
So here are the kinds of things clients can do for lodging:
Donation of blood or plasma. Works with handicapped clients should we have them. But this should only just pay for the room. I want what blood-sales can do, to be enough just to get them in; not enough to make them comfortable. Otherwise we'll have stoners that ascend to the higher levels from something requiring no talent nor effort.
Local Janitorial. Two people should be there to do janitorial work. It's not that I think it will be so hard, or that our clients will make a mess of everything, but having two means a primary and a backup. Failing one, we need another who can be activated on a moment's notice.
Community Service jobs. This is where the investment pays off for the society. Our clients will go out into the community and do small jobs, those not requiring a cash register nor ladder, and help freely with their time. Generally whatever the employer might need. This is free to them.
I want a bulletin board kind of thing, online, where participating establishments buy an iButton reader and have a login to our main site. They will be required to let us know when there's a need, how many, and can ask for a client, or ask that a client not be there. After the work is done, it must also login, qualify the client has done what he was asked, and therefore update his room.
Actual businesses. At some point I want to offer people with a good record a chance to start a business. I'd like to think we could tie this to an iButton to watch his progress, but that may not be available. Such businesses would include news stands but I'm sure others are likely.
Every project requires a vernacular; a language of new things never made or use the same way, before. The fact these names and definitions could change a little along the way is the very reason for this work.
We keep a Project Glossary for clarity. It's also where the details of the project are defined, and re-defined as we roll along. Don't skip it!
People make this happen. And in these early days of the project, it's all about finding the right people.
|Brian Fahrlander, the founder and organizer. Inspired by a two-month coma in 2010, he's worked to get this project moving, ever since.
He's a caregiver for his Mom, who fell ill in 2001, calling him home and changing his plans. He does all his work from the house anymore, the coma and kidney cancer took a lot of stamina.
See him to become an editor here. He's reachable as WheelDweller@gmail.com
|Erica Fahrlander, playful bunny and inspiration source, also Brian's younger daughter. It was her work that let us see the general idea of the various units by implementing them in TheSims3 and taking screen shots. She's been a lot of help, and I think it'll be through her, more people will be found.|
|Maybe You! Someone who sees plans and thinks bills-of-materials. He understands building codes and things that work, versus things that merely look good. I need that same person to oversee building of these units, keeping them simple and safe for everyone. This is a technical job.|
|Maybe You! Someone who understands government grants and the details of their paperwork We need someone to handle our establishment of a NPO and get us legal. This is a technical job.|
|Maybe You! An Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran who's seen some battle, and wants to help out. This person needs to have the heart of a teacher, and the grace of a warrior. I want someone to listen to people's problems and offer whatever help we can provide. Once we have buildings, this person will be a central figure in our efforts.|
|Maybe You! A programmer who eats and sleeps PHP and Perl. This person must create the software to request lodging for clients, as well as to track them once they're here. We need someone who understands the proper layout of databases; this won't be a Microsoft Windows install; it needs to remain completely GPL, too.|
Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.
Everything here is meant to be duplicated as needed; keep that in mind.
For each piece that has to be assembled must be created with a system:
Description. A little text not only identifying the unit but explaining where it fits in the assembly.
Requirements. They will always need a 'manifest' to ensure they have the right parts to start.
Construction. Anyone duplicating part of this needs to know the "HowTo" because it may be the first time.
Troubleshooting. Things can go wrong; let's help with the tough stuff, as we find it.
Polish. Any hints or tips on how to speed or smooth the process. Again, add it as we find it.