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04/26/2002

Group Kitchens for the Homeless

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  There is not enough housing available in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. In my small town of 1800, there are thirty people who live in their cars because their rental was sold. In hi-demand areas, people who work the low-paying service jobs cannot even find a room to rent at double their former rent. Rather than leave their jobs and friends by moving away completely, they move into in their cars to save money. If something else goes wrong, often these "homeless by choice" people can lose everything.
  To avoid this from happening, I have "adopted" a number of car-dwellers, giving them limited access to my tiny home (showers, taking messages for job-seeking) in exchange for various chores. With this help, most of them eventually found housing. Some of these "recovered homeless" got together and rented a shared place. They decided to start a "pot-luck" evening twice a week for their other friends who were still living in cars: The car-dwellers agree to bring extra food. They prepare the food that's there and clean up the kitchen. The renters get food prepared for them and their dinner dishes get washed. Perhaps a car-dweller who has a job becomes a part of the house when a room becomes available.
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Kimberly Engel
 
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