27. Watsonville plan
March 30, 2009 § Leave a comment
Over the weekend Bill Leland and I met and came up with a proposal we think makes sense and can be done.
The idea is to bring together foreclosed houses, people who need housing, and a support network based on Americore workers.
Banks are concerned that foreclosed houses are a likely candidate for deterioration through lack of maintenance and vandalism. Neighbors are worried about declining neighborhoods and potential crime. What if we got the bank to allow homeless families to live in those houses with a support team of Americore workers.
Lets say we took five families and created a team of support people who would help the family maintain the house, improve the gardens, and provide other support necessary to help the family succeed. The families would meet together and agree to work with the team and maintain the houses. Each group of five families (this is preliminary) would have a support team of supporters who could also deliver local health and welfare as needed to the families. this might go so far as, if both parents are working, to add child welfare and other health normally delivered, or not, by the county. the tams would be coaches to the families, guarantors of the upkeep of the houses, and managing welfare aspects.
The teams would be closely supervised and networked, learning from each other, in what could turn into a major community building and revitalization effort.
Key here is for the banks to find this advantageous, protecting their investment in the houses. If the house were to be sold, the teams would relocate the families. It might turn out that some of the families can actually get to a position where they could purchase the house.
This plan requires brining together the banks, and the local government, to make this work. Key is the ability of the county or city government to qualify for Americore workers, and others provided by the stimulus, working for example to retrofit some of the houses for energy conservation.
A further aspect of the plan is to have those adults who are unemployed to work at the food coop on a new extended project to provide community based food. The workers would receive free food for their families in exchange, with the promise that when economic conditions permit they also would receive some wages.