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Old 11-19-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: I am right here.
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You clearly know nothing about farming!
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by PeachSalsa View Post
You clearly know nothing about farming!
No, I've never owned a farm, but I don't really know what you mean. Would you care to explain? It may be that as I dig a little deeper I find that none of these ideas are really workable. That's okay. I would at least like to know what's wrong with them, though.

I wasn't envisioning a huge commercial farm that requires several hundred acres; I was just envisioning a small mom and pop style mini-farm with maybe about ten or so acres. You can find farm grade bunnies and chicks for a reasonable price at many of the local flea markets. The livestock auction may have an old nanny goat or milk cow or two that's already been used for the dairy, and feed can be purchased from the hardware store or grown directly on the farm. Maybe it's not as doable as I'm imagining. I do know that it does take a considerable amount of money, and luck, to set yourself up to live off of the land, but it still doesn't seem impossible or even impractical. Most of it is sweat equity, right? The people raise the animals for meat, grow the plants for food, pickle and can the meat and produce that they don't eat for winter, put some away for emergencies, sell the rest the following spring, and start all over again. Plus, something can be planted any season.
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:14 AM
 
Location: I am right here.
4,915 posts, read 4,075,796 times
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Originally Posted by kmb501 View Post
No, I've never owned a farm, but I don't really know what you mean. Would you care to explain? It may be that as I dig a little deeper I find that none of these ideas are really workable. That's okay. I would at least like to know what's wrong with them, though.

I wasn't envisioning a huge commercial farm that requires several hundred acres; I was just envisioning a small mom and pop style mini-farm with maybe about ten or so acres. You can find farm grade bunnies and chicks for a reasonable price at many of the local flea markets. The livestock auction may have an old nanny goat or milk cow or two that's already been used for the dairy, and feed can be purchased from the hardware store or grown directly on the farm. Maybe it's not as doable as I'm imagining. I do know that it does take a considerable amount of money, and luck, to set yourself up to live off of the land, but it still doesn't seem impossible or even impractical. Most of it is sweat equity, right? The people raise the animals for meat, grow the plants for food, pickle and can the meat and produce that they don't eat for winter, put some away for emergencies, sell the rest the following spring, and start all over again. Plus, something can be planted any season.
Farm grade bunnies and chicks....how will you pay for the feed, medicine, wormer? Who will do the butchering? Who will pay for the hutches and coops? Maintenance?

Nanny goat and milk cow...OK, so you purchase an old goat or cow (one who is being sold, presumably because they are either ornery or past their prime already) and they provide milk for a few months (IF they are currently being milked). Then what? Will you butcher the tough old milk cow and/or nanny goat? Or breed her again? What if they do not settle (get pregnant)? Where will you find the bull/billy goat? How will pay stud fees? Because you DO know that neither will provide indefinitely, right? They only provide milk for a portion of a year before they must be bred, have a calf (or kid), and then provide milk again. What will you do with the calf or kid?

You can harvest some food off a field...but enough quality grain? Not on ten acres. Do you know just how small that is? And equipment...how are you going to purchase a tractor, plus the other equipment? It is not cheap! You must provide more than just hay and grass if you want a lot of milk.

Growing crops in any season? Not if you live in an area that gets snow!
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:20 AM
 
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Maybe should have the homeless people build their own homes. Hire a manager and get materials donated or on the cheap. Two week quick course on construction and building codes and let them have at it
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:42 AM
 
2,441 posts, read 1,943,475 times
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Originally Posted by kmb501 View Post
I was watching a documentary on homelessness in America recently, and now I have a few questions. Why can't cities create low rent or tax subsidized housing for the homeless? It seems like the cities have enough money to provide safe transitional opportunities for people who have a reasonable need. Is it feasible for large cities to do this? If they can do it, why don't they?
They don't want to. It is political suicide to even contemplate such a thing.

In the US the predominant attitude is "I got mine, you get your own". Money and material possessions are equated with personal value and moral virtue. This means a poor person is a bad person. They also have very little imagination or empathy - people identify with people further up the ladder than them, they can't conceive of falling to a lower rung (although of course it happens ALL THE TIME). If they do hear of someone worse off than them the immediate assumption is that they're bad and lazy. They also misattribute their own situation to personal virtue, not luck, situational advantage or anything else.

If you want to really explode your head, google "Ayn Rand", she very popular in America, and even people who don't like her take certain aspects of her philosophy for granted (anti-government).
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,448 posts, read 11,951,877 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IShootNikon View Post
Maybe should have the homeless people build their own homes. Hire a manager and get materials donated or on the cheap. Two week quick course on construction and building codes and let them have at it
I'm pretty sure Habitat for Humanity makes the future homeowners play at least some role in construction of their homes.
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by spankys bbq View Post
OP, if you sit down and crunch the numbers, you'll realize there are not many municipalities that could afford to do such a thing.

For starters, you must acquire the land (unless you approve of them taking it via eminent domain), then you have to build the place. Next comes staffing the place. Then comes screening, leasing, maintenance (daily upkeep and regular repairs), and so on and so forth.

10-20 occupants at $100/month won't keep anything going. If you cheap out on labor, you'll have a terrible looking building. You can't even hire a good manager for $2,000/month. And you still haven't even addressed maintenance staff, repairs, power bills and other utilities. As an example, I manage a 24-unit apartment building where we take care of the water bill. Last month, our water bill was over $700. With $2,000 income each month, you have $1300 left. You have to have power to maintain hallway and staircase lighting. Even using LEDs, your power bill will eat into that substnatially. We haven't even got to climate control in common areas, assuming we are talking about an enclosed complex.

$100/month won't do anything other than get the building so far into the red that it isn't even feasible to go past this being an idea.

If you want it to work, it needs to be privately run, with a great incentive for the owners. But, if you do that, the government is still paying for it. Short of buying older motels and converting them into a halfway house, so to speak, there aren't too many financially sound ways to make something like this work.

After all of that, you run into the real problem when it comes to homelessness. NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard. Whether you'll admit it here or not, you know 99% of us don't want a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. I know I don't. Is it mean? Probably. But, I have an investment in my home and a facility like the OP wants would destroy property values. A perfect example is an old raggedy motel that was widely known for drugs and prostitution here in town. No one would build anything near it until it was torn down. It's not the same thing, but I think it kind of helps make the point.

Cliff's Notes: Too expensive, too unattractive in just about any area of most towns, a political hand grenade with the pin pulled.
You're making it excessively complicated. Do what the rest of the world does. Cash up to $1000 a month for everyone earning under that amount. Get rid of food stamps, WIC, welfare, unemployment, disability, food banks, school lunches, all of that red tape and complication and expense. Just submit your form each fortnight, get your cash and live your life like an adult.
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:59 AM
 
4,367 posts, read 3,557,483 times
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Originally Posted by PeachSalsa View Post
Farm grade bunnies and chicks....how will you pay for the feed, medicine, wormer? Who will do the butchering? Who will pay for the hutches and coops? Maintenance?

Nanny goat and milk cow...OK, so you purchase an old goat or cow (one who is being sold, presumably because they are either ornery or past their prime already) and they provide milk for a few months (IF they are currently being milked). Then what? Will you butcher the tough old milk cow and/or nanny goat? Or breed her again? What if they do not settle (get pregnant)? Where will you find the bull/billy goat? How will pay stud fees? Because you DO know that neither will provide indefinitely, right? They only provide milk for a portion of a year before they must be bred, have a calf (or kid), and then provide milk again. What will you do with the calf or kid?

You can harvest some food off a field...but enough quality grain? Not on ten acres. Do you know just how small that is? And equipment...how are you going to purchase a tractor, plus the other equipment? It is not cheap! You must provide more than just hay and grass if you want a lot of milk.

Growing crops in any season? Not if you live in an area that gets snow!
Again, the care of the animals, which should be minimal, would probably be taken care of by the shelter. Butchering could be done by volunteers, or someone could take a weekend off and teach the skill to a few of the residents (of course, they would have to be supervised when doing this). Hutches and coops can be built from things donated by the local hardware store or found for free. Maintenance would probably be taken care of primarily by the residents, unless it is something they cannot handle themselves.

Calves and kids would need medical attention, presumably provided by volunteer vets or paid for by the shelter. They would probably become the property of the shelter and either given back to the residents to raise and use on the farm or sold to provide for the residents' other needs.

Grain and protein are relatively cheap. It costs a lot less to feed a goat or rabbit than it does to feed a dog, for instance. Surely donations could help with this while the residents are getting established. Pellets are only about one dollar per pound. Rabbits and goats can also supplement their diets with grass and plants, so there shouldn't be much of a concern about them going hungry.

Why do the residents need a tractor? If they only have a few animals, they can clean and harvest by hand. Most of the things on a farm are recyclable. I agree that ten acres may not produce all of the food the residents and animals need. A few things would need to be supplemented, at least at first. It still seems like it might become self-sustaining later, though. The residents would continue to raise livestock and give it back to the shelter. The shelter, in turn, would sell the livestock and put the money back into the project to provide for the residents' needs. The residents would harvest and forage for food, which they would use, can, and sell (or give back to the shelter for them to sell), and, again, the money made would go back to helping the residents run their farm.

It doesn't snow often around here; we might get something every five years. Well, okay, I guess all areas can't grow crops every season. Most seasons are open to growing vegetables, though, as long as you keep them watered.

There's also another question. What if the residents simply do not want to do the work required to keep up the farm? Yes, it's a little idealistic. I don't know. I guess I think most people like the idea of raising animals and living off of the land. If I didn't have an apartment and a steady income and someone offered me a chance to live on a farm in exchange for light duties, like looking after the chickens, I might accept it.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:32 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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Originally Posted by Osito View Post
Because landlords are too greedy and tax money has to come from somewhere.
Landlords, like any other business person, are investing their money and time to make a living. You cannot expect them to give away their money by voluntarily offering low rent or free housing to the homeless, any more than Costco or McDonalds would give away free food. Even when a city has subsidized housing, it's below market but they still require the people to pay rent, and the cost to maintain the property over and above the rental income is being subsidized by all of us as tax payers. Including landlords of other buildings.
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:34 PM
 
4,367 posts, read 3,557,483 times
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Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Landlords, like any other business person, are investing their money and time to make a living. You cannot expect them to give away their money by voluntarily offering low rent or free housing to the homeless, any more than Costco or McDonalds would give away free food. Even when a city has subsidized housing, it's below market but they still require the people to pay rent, and the cost to maintain the property over and above the rental income is being subsidized by all of us as tax payers. Including landlords of other buildings.
Okay, what, feasibly, could a town or city government do if they wanted to help relieve some of the problems the sound working homeless face? These people would need affordable, not necessarily free, housing, access to public transportation or an affordable alternative, and a means of getting out of their current situation and getting back on track. They don't need to be sleeping in their cars, on buses, or on benches. Even our local governments have surplus funds that could probably be used to do a lot more good than they are currently doing.

The solutions I've proposed, which may not make sense, because I haven't been able to look at it from any informed perspective, are:

Buy foreclosed or condemned properties; fix them to the point they are safe and livable (or just buy or build properties outright, whichever is cheaper and more convenient). Set up a screening system consisting of a drug test and psychological evaluation. Buy bunk beds and second hand furniture (or accept donations); move four people into each bedroom, for a total of twenty people. Charge about one-hundred dollars per month rent, and provide information on job finding, job training, small business training, debt counseling, affordable housing, etc. to make it easier for the resident to transition out of the temporary housing. Allow residents to stay for up to six months to one year; they should be stable by then.

Buy ten or twenty acres of foreclosed rural land, build a large dorm-style shelter that can comfortably hold ten to twenty people, four to a bedroom. Buy small animals, like goats, chickens, and rabbits, maybe a calf or two. Put them in the care of the screened residents after teaching them how to care for them. Have someone trained living with them. Buy several pounds of seed for crops that grow quickly and easily in the climate, like maybe tomatoes and squash. Show the residents how to plant the crops. Have the residents raise the plants and animals for food and trade the other plants and animals raised back to the shelter so that they can sell them to help continue funding the project. Again, encourage residents to transition out of the temporary housing, and only keep them for a maximum of six months to a year.

On paper, it looks good to me, but I'm sure there are holes. Is there anything here that actually makes sense, though?

Last edited by krmb; 11-19-2014 at 01:45 PM..
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