Permanent Affordable Housing with Charlie Ligety – Episode 3

Permanent Affordable Housing with Charlie Ligety - Episode 3An interview with Charlie Ligety, Director of The Housing Innovative Collaborative, explores the successes and failures of supplying affordable housing in a growing homelessness crisis. Today we have a diverse (and quick) range of housing options that aren’t currently being tapped to their full potential. A combination of changes in government policies, cultural and socioeconomic stereotypes, and perceptions around personal responsibility can come together to create solutions that transition people out of homelessness and into affordable permanent housing options that support dignity and community.

Mentioned in this episode
HOM Housing on Merit
Housing Innovation Collaborative
A Bridge Home
Hope in the Valley
Rapid Shelter Showcase
Project Spotlight
The Global Bridge Foundation

Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast

Announcer: (00:01)
The Missing Conversation, Episode Three.

Charlie Ligety: (00:03)
Every property owner, that’s sitting on an empty piece of land in a city, or has an empty storefront that isn’t using the land in order to address a problem is in some ways, um, being part of the problem, as well.

Announcer: (00:21)
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking. As we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry, born from working on his own challenges.

Robert Strock: (01:00)
Thanks again for joining us on The Missing Conversation in Los Angeles county, the epicenter of the nation’s affordable housing crisis, the majority of renters cannot afford to pay the rent. Almost 1 million people live on the verge of homelessness and 60,000 people are homeless on any given night just to sustain themselves. We need to build over 500,000 affordable housing units and increase our current housing production by four and a half times. That includes the people that are really living on the verge today. We’re talking with Charlie Ligety.

Charlie is coordinating the housing innovation collaborative HOM Housing on Merit, which is a nonprofit housing focused R and D platform, convening people and ideas from across the housing ecosystem to showcase and pilot new technology financing, and policy solutions, addressing the homelessness and housing affordability crisis from Los Angeles to the world. Welcome Charlie, 1 million people on the verge of homelessness and 60,000 homeless. These are very troubling figures.

Charlie Ligety: (02:28)
Well thank you for having me Robert.

Robert Strock: (02:30)
So what do you see as the key elements and people that need to come together that are, I think you said in our prior conversations that there were five elements that have to come together and, or for some alternative housing to really work.

Charlie Ligety: (02:49)
Well. Yeah, I mean, we look at sort of housing development, um, whether it’s a printed, supportive housing development or a transitional, uh, development or a refugee camp or any type of housing development, they need five pieces of the deal to come together in order to get that, um, project to come to reality. So, you know, we have a series called Project Spotlight that shines a light on how different innovative housing projects have come together. And we look at the five components which are political leadership site funding, the development team, and sort of the operations wraparound services, or whoever’s managing the project of how those five parties came together in order to get the deal done.

Speaker 4: (03:38)
That’s great. That’s a real clear expression. Um, I’d like to put you on the spot for a moment in which, uh, I hope you don’t mind. Uh, where do you think is the hardest element that’s not coming together? Yes. Uh, that really needs more support or more encouragement from, uh, all of us.

Charlie Ligety: (03:57)
Well, I mean, like say if you work through each one, one of them needs a lot of support and I would say, um, you know, boost and how they’re collaborating. So if you look at the leadership, for example, I mean there, um, is starting to, starting to have an increase in sort of the political will or confidence. I think of certain politicians to sort of address homelessness, um, and, and, or, you know, more housing development, it’s sort of anywhere on that spectrum of underserved communities for housing. So sort of when we’re looking at, um, you know, the housing that needs to be built for underserved communities, we’re looking at that whole gradient of housing from everything from a transitional, uh, transit transitional shelter to a more permanent home, whether that has wraparound services or not. Um, but you know, the, the, the, uh, the part that I think is kind of the first step in building more of these developments is providing the pathway of leadership from, you know, they are sort of the political, uh, leaders of allowing the other pieces to fall in line behind it.

Charlie Ligety: (05:07)
So that’s sort of the first step and how the, um, I guess the dominoes fall in terms of the chain of actions that sort of happens when you’re building more housing development is the political leaders need to provide the pathway for people to all gather on and go down in order to sort of make this a reality. And so, um, you know, looking at it, it’s like, yes, you know, there’s challenges right now on some communities not having the political will or the leadership in order to kind of take the housing crisis and the homelessness crisis head on to address it. But when you look at the next stage, it’s like, well, the next sort of challenge is the site. You know, so like sort of looking through these five points, the, finding a site, you know, being creative of how you look at sites, are they under freeways?

Charlie Ligety: (05:54)
Are they temporary on church land? Are they, you know, um, previously zoned industrial sites in the city here? So sort of being creative about the sites and like those also face their own challenges. I mean, property owners, whether they’re private or public need to sort of be part of the solution. So I think, you know, you can also point to every property owner, that’s sitting on an empty piece of land in a city, or has a, you know, empty storefront, um, that isn’t using the land in order to address a problem is in some ways, um, being part of the problem as well. So I think like we kind of work through, uh, each of these five pieces of where they need support and where they need help and sort of where those challenges are. But like once you remove each of those challenges and sort of help boost each of those five parts of the deal, I think you’ll get a lot more deals accelerated much faster. And, you know, hopefully, hopefully our platform that we’re doing with the housing innovation collaborative, it’s sort of helping police provide that framework of how different projects are coming together so that people can see themselves playing that role as a stakeholder within one of the five parts. Um, so hopefully we’re writing the script for them to sort of play a role.

Robert Strock: (07:08)
Yeah, I Think you, you’ve done an amazing job of showing this 75 plus options for housing, and I may stand alone with you here. Um, but it seems to me that the locations and the other elements besides the political will is, um, is relatively minor and the political will is relatively major. And if you don’t fully agree with me there, you can just let me stand alone.

Charlie Ligety: (07:39)
Well, I mean, and kind of to reference, uh, some of your, some of your prior white papers too, it’s, it’s like, it’s not just the politicians. I mean, it’s sort of like, like, as you said, it, I mean, it is sort of a societal dilemma of how to treat people that are lower on the socioeconomic scale than you. Um, so I think like it’s, it’s much deeper than it’s easy for us to blame the people that are working in city hall or the head of a department or the mayor of a city, but we’re all kind of to blame for having this bias against, um, sort of serving those that have, have less than that. And I think that’s sort of, it was just a change in mentality kind of how you have put it in the past.

Robert Strock: (08:25)
Yeah. You know what I really like about what you’re saying? And I completely concur if the vast majority of people in, in, in the city, country we’re saying we absolutely have to take care of it. It would be easy for the politicians to, to make the move. So all of us need to take some responsibility. We don’t want it in our backyard. You know, we, we, we don’t want it to be, uh, too near us. We don’t want it to affect our property values. And so I think that in a certain way, it is a collective. So I think I like the correction or the addition to what I’m saying, that it’s really, uh, it’s a citywide, nationwide issue of a certain kind of self-centeredness on the part of, uh, of each individual that collectively then makes it possible for the oh, well to be there because there’ll be too, too vulnerable to being voted out. So I think that’s a really good point.

Charlie Ligety: (09:19)
And, and if it is like a perception issue, like, you know, the way that we’re illustrating the range of solutions and how tangible they are is also trying to get, not just at like layout a toolkit for how cities or how church groups or developers or philanthropic community members, or, you know, any one of these key stakeholders that comes together can get involved. But it’s also trying to, you know, like the rapid shelter showcase, the 75 different shelter solutions on display is also trying to illustrate that, you know, um, having more housing in your neighborhood doesn’t have to look like a FEMA trailer. It doesn’t have to look like this threatening, ugly thing that might come into your head when you think, um, affordable housing or, you know, uh, uh, a transitional shelter village. And so I think we’re trying to like, sort of illustrate and change the perception right, of how people, when they first hear the word, they don’t automatically assume it’s something with a negative connotation and a, an image that’s in your head that makes you think that that’s not something you want in your backyard.

Robert Strock: (10:23)
Yeah. Well, you’ve done, uh, more than anybody certainly that I’m aware of to help the actual, the actual structures and the options be there for alternative housing. But I think that the issue is that’s one issue. The other issue is just the fear of having unsheltered people in the neighborhoods, no matter how, how much better you make the housing, that certainly that’s still a concern.

Charlie Ligety: (10:46)
Yeah. And like, we talk about this all the time when we’re doing these project spotlight round tables with cities that we’ve done now, you know, Seattle and, um, and Oakland and Riverside and San Diego, and just sort of cities all across the country and in Anchorage and, you know, doing a couple more in the next few weeks is that, you know, the, the, um, you know, the way that they are addressing homelessness and the way that they’re addressing the housing crisis is all so it’s, it’s so varied in its approach, but it also like, sort of follows a very like, um, methodical, when you look at all these, and it’s sort of a macro approach, it sort of follows a very methodical approach that you can kind of study and through our platform, hopefully it makes that information much easier. It’s like, you know, each of these five parts of the deals that are coming together in different cities have things that are doing really well.

Charlie Ligety: (11:44)
Um, like there might be some cities that have great political will, um, or that might have zero community pushback, but might be lacking and, or operations or some other piece of the puzzle. Um, and so I think like, you know, it’s, it’s interesting to sort of study collaboration almost as like a microcosm of, of sort of how you can take and, and collect best practices from a bunch of different sort of ecosystems that are doing their own, uh, remedy of sort of drawing on an, on a new type of vaccine, if you will.

Robert Strock: (12:21)
Well, interestingly, again, I’m happy to stand alone if I need a, need to, but, um, my involvement has been mostly in California and you’ve been, you know, much broader than I have been, but it seems that the, uh, the, the big whole back is the, the major funding that would most likely come from political sources. And in, in California, let’s say that if the money was really used, like you’ve, you’ve given 75 different options for the housing. I know a lot of, uh, program heads and the number of them have been on the podcast. They’re, they’re more than ready to expand into a number of programs. And so it seems that the, uh, other elements are there, uh, in that it would be the exception, but moving . . .

Charlie Ligety: (13:08)
The funding has got, is the missing piece.

Robert Strock: (13:10)
Exactly. And I think that, because it’s such a big bill, it’s going to have to come from government. I don’t think philanthropy is going to become, be able to come up with a couple billion for LA. Um, that’s going to be needed to really have a chance to start the housing, to be able, to be taking care of a large scale beginning population, even before we deal with post COVID.

Charlie Ligety: (13:30)
Yeah. I mean, like, you know, the, the, we were looking at like sort of the money, um, piece behind building more housing. And in this case that you’re addressing homelessness with transitional shelter that has programming and sort of, sort of a, uh, much heavier operating expense than say just a typical apartment building being built. Um, you know, you can, you can kind of get a, you can kind of get your head around how big the problem is or how much it would cost by just doing some simple math of, like, I think we talked about this last time, I’d like, you know, you build a filter for 10,000 unit. Um, and you’re, you’re trying to house everybody, you know, trying to shelter everybody in, let’s say just LA county, um, you know, how much does that cost? And that’s like, that’s something that you can pretty easily put a number on and just try to figure out, okay, like, how do we actually back into that costing if there’s 60,000 people, it’s $10,000 a person just to get them into shelter, right?

Charlie Ligety: (14:32)
That’s $600 million. You need to build the shelter. And then as far as like, uh, operations every night, if it costs between $30 and $70 a night to provide all of the overhead and services to transition people into permanent housing, like how much would that cost and how long would that program be? So like, I think that’s where you can sort of like, be like, okay, you know, if you make some estimates on, you know, $30 a night for 700 days per person, you know, to sort of have a transitional house in and waiting to have a permanent house, you could look at, it costs maybe a billion or $2 billion for a place like LA county. And then you can then put a price on it. What, what does it cost to end homelessness? Um, which I think is like, it becomes like a tangible thing that you can work towards, like, okay, we need $2 billion.

Charlie Ligety: (15:23)
We’re going to spend it on shelter and we’re going to spend it on wraparound services. And like, you, you end up starting with a top down approach to the problem of like, here’s the scope of the problem. It’s, you know, it’s not homelessness, isn’t solved by just hacking away at 1000 units a year, you know, like it’s in a place like Los Angeles county, you can’t like, look at this problem of like, okay, we’re going to try to alleviate homelessness. Like, you know, you look at 500 units, a thousand units, you got to start from the top and be like, how do we end if we actually are on the same page that homelessness is costing cities, more money that it’s immoral, and it’s just bad all around, you know, from an ethic, ethics standpoint or a fiscal standpoint to have homelessness in your community, then why wouldn’t you just try to, you try and cure it or end it, you know, like not trying to hack away at the problem from the bottom, but actually trying to start from a top down approach of like having honest conversation of what will it take to end homelessness in the next 90 days.

Charlie Ligety: (16:25)
And, um, yeah, I mean, I, that’s sort of where we’re trying to go with, uh, at least some of the initiatives that we have with the Housing Innovation Collaborative is trying to make that tangible to be like, here are, you know, seventy-five different, uh, shelter solutions that we can deploy, because when you, when you’re trying to shelter 60,000 people, you need a range of them, like sort of a thousand silver bullets is what you need to sort of tackle this problem. And so you were trying to be like, you know, it’s not that crazy. Like here’s how you build a deal. Here’s how you find the site. Here’s how you get the funding here. There’s all the designs and shelter solutions out there. What’s, what’s stopping us from ending homelessness that’s possible.

Robert Strock: (17:09)
Yeah. And I, and I think of course, then there’s the ongoing maintenance. So of each of the facilities that, that you’ve built that has to also be part of the funding, ongoing, which I think a lot of that can be philanthropic, but I can only scream it from the rooftops that let’s wake up as, as a society and realize that these unsheltered people, number one are human beings and our brothers and sisters, and we need to get it together. And I, I just appreciate the fact that you’ve, you’ve done your part to show the shelter part for anybody that really wants to look, but I want to move on to, um, you giving us a little bit of a sense of what’s happening in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, just simply put, and maybe somewhat briefly what kind of housing is being accepted right now for a temporary shelter. And, and, and let’s say permanent shelter as well.

Charlie Ligety: (18:03)
Well, I mean, I think the examples of transitional or temporary shelter that I look at is, um, the mayor’s office Garcetti’s, um, uh, initiative, A Bridge Home, which I think is up to 3,000 beds, or if it’s not up to 3,000 beds, it’s, it’s, it’s closing in on that number pretty soon where I think there’s about 35 different facilities or, or centers up there that they’re, um, you know, operating and helping pay for, uh, transitional shelter and sort of the typologies that they’re mostly using are sprung tents, sprung shelters, um, sort of this, um, congregate shelter method that people are separated by cubicles inside. And you can fit about a hundred people into an 8,000 square foot facility. And that’s sort of the typology du jour, I guess, of LA. Um, but there are a couple other districts within Los Angeles city that have tried out other types of shelter.

Charlie Ligety: (19:03)
So I mean, in the 10th district, um, and, uh, and, and Thomas’s district, they’re completing a shipping container type of, um, module, uh, development. And, um, you know, there’s also the, the whole pallet shelter, uh, development that’s being built in, I believe the valley, um, that north Hollywood maybe that’s helped with the valley. Yeah. So there’s, so I would say, you know, um, probably 15 or 20 of the 30 facilities are sprung structures. So that’s by far the most approved accepted, I guess, if you look at just the pure numbers. Um, but I mean, yeah, like you look at other cities and it’s like, LA, isn’t the only city out there deploying transitional shelter in their communities. And so LA in a lot of ways doesn’t have as much diversity, I guess, as, as there is in other shelter typologies out there, that’s addressing this problem.

Charlie Ligety: (20:05)
And, you know, we’re hoping to sort of, uh, I guess enrich the palette of choices that, you know, you can, you can use to sort of address various populations with various shelter types, kind of like, again, kind of referring back to some of your prior work too, is like, you know, if you group people, um, of similar needs together, you can have shelter that also, you know, it’s not just the services that is customized to that demographic, whether it’s families or, um, you know, people going through recovery programs or whatever, but you can also match the shelter typology to that, to that need. And right now we’re just sorta like, um, very much, you know, at least it’s some action, but it’s very, it’s very, it’s less, there’s less art to it. More like, it’s just like, it’s, there’s less of like a scalpel, uh, approach. It’s more of just like, we’re just going to use, uh, this blunt instrument to sort of solve everything. Um, but I think, you know, it’s, it’s starting to, I think there’s definitely signs that it’s starting to adapt into how we, and into what tools the toolkit is expanding. I think so.

Robert Strock: (21:13)
Yeah. I appreciate you mentioning the, the ideas of having target communities that may be potentially on the outskirts that could have specific needs for single women or families, or under an unemployed that maybe would be a group that would feel safe with each other. And then on the other hand, you could have vets that would feel a sense of community and really build a sense of community. So it can be an inspiring place to be, or at least a, a comfortable and safe place to be where there can be some esteem. And there can be some psychological care and there could be some vocational training, et cetera, but having it, as you said, have it be more scalpel-like. Um, one of the, one of the questions, last one on this subject here, is it seems like, like with Hope in the Valley, they have the 64 square foot, uh, pallet shelters, and then they have these group showers, uh, where they have individual doors for, for the various units.

Robert Strock: (22:07)
Do you have an understanding of why they would approve that as sort of like a temporary shelter rather than using one of the other ones, one of the other 75 of what you probably have? I don’t know, 25 or 30 models of that are more like tiny homes where they’re 120 square feet or, or more where they have a little bathroom and they have a little kitchenette where you have more capacity where that would be called permanent housing. It seems that there’s a real bias toward having temporary shelter, rather than permanent shelter on, on a low cost basis.

Charlie Ligety: (22:39)
Yeah. I mean, I think there’s, um, we’re trying to debunk this perception out there that low costs shelter, like there’s a couple of different misperceptions out there, or sort of, um, myths that we’re trying to debunk like that one low cost, uh, sort of shelter, uh, for $10,000 a bed or, or less is low quality or immoral. And like, that’s just, you look at the range of shelters out there that are within a budget. Um, you know, we just, we just showcased two nights ago, a house literally made of coffee, of the coffee husks grinded together with recycled material. It’s a healthy, it’s an eco-friendly, it’s a healthy space. It’s eco-friendly, it snaps together. It’s cheap, it’s, you know, costs $5,800 for a 200 square foot, basically latte chalet. It’s beautiful looking, it smells like coffee, you know, and like, and then you compare that to, you know, a more rudimentary design.

Charlie Ligety: (23:43)
And you’re like, you know, there’s, I think there’s the, um, kind of part that we’re trying to bring to this is like, you can have both, you don’t have to choose, it’s not a tradeoff. Um, and then, you know, kind of the other misperception is like, so one is like, you know, the low cost is being bad quality. And like, you know, cities don’t want to put low cost shelter on eggs. It makes them look like they’re basically creating these changing towns or whatever the misperception is. Right. And so like one, we’re trying to debunk that and be like, well, you can actually have these beautiful tiny home villages that sort of turn an encampment into a beautiful, uh, piece of, you know, not just of, of not just architecture, but actual like sort of pride of a community to be like, look, we’re helping the people that need it the most in our cities.

Charlie Ligety: (24:34)
And like, this is a shining example of our sort of ethics or morals or whatever. Um, the other one is that like, you know, a shelter that’s rapidly deployable, it’s temporary. That’s another big misperception. So FEMA has been the biggest buyer of this misperception because they buy these rapidly deployable FEMA trailers, um, which are, I guess you call them FEMA trailers, just because like, that’s sort of the, the derogatory term here of like, you know, look at Katrina, uh, response or these other types of emergencies where the government has stepped in to try to provide rapid shelter. And it often is sort of, um, it’s made and, and disposed of after 18 months, um, in these, these images of just square miles in Texas are just filled with shelters that have basically just been tossed and discarded after a family is in that. And so I think like the other misperception that we’re trying to overcome is that you can have rapidly deployable, you know, permanent housing.

Charlie Ligety: (25:36)
Like you can respond to a crisis rapidly and provide them with, uh, a unit of housing that you could live in for years. And it could, it can last for 50 years, you know, steel purpose-built steel modules that like, you know, they’re, they’re not going away anytime soon. And, um, so I think like, like those are two misperceptions out there and like, yeah, you look at the, you know, the shelter showcase, you can sort that sort of based on, based on like the expected life value or the durability of the unit. And, um, you know, find, find many examples of, you know, one bed, one bath units that are, uh, much longer lasting than say, like a pallet shelter. But like, you know, I think, um, there’s a place for pallet shelters too. Like we were all about, you know, it has to be a yes and approach that it has to get thousand silver bullets here.

Charlie Ligety: (26:33)
And so pallet shelters, like, I think the reason why LA is using them is mostly because other cities are using them. So like, you know, LA is not really, is not known as like a first, we’re not really like a, a first adapt, adapter of shelter typologies where we’re like really innovating or the cutting edge of using prototypes or, or using the first generation at a shelter. We’re more looking at like, sort of what’s been tried in other cities. And so like the, the sprung tent, sprung shelters came from San Diego that San Diego example that they, they built sprung structures basically first in California, um, to address homelessness and the pallets, uh, shelters are sort of, um, what’s been done with a lot of cities around, uh, California and, uh, the west coast. And so it’s sort of like, it’s easier just to kind of use, uh, you know, the, the sort of established, I guess, status quo, I guess that’s been established to then copy and paste it.

Robert Strock: (27:33)
The, the one thing I want to really highlight and for you there listening out there and being able to do whatever you can do from where you are, is highlight to this misperception, because I think that’s one of the enormous keys that the perception of being able to have economical housing that really can take care of the unsheltered challenges that are going on, especially in Los Angeles, but obviously in a lot of the major cities in the country, that that misperception is so costly because not only is it keeping people in the streets, but it’s keeping people knocking on our doors, uh, on the windows, while we’re waiting, waiting at a traffic line, and many of us get annoyed at that, but don’t go deeper when into that and saying, how am I contributing to that? How am I not inspired to call my Congressman and say, it’s time?

Robert Strock: (28:30)
You know, I know Judge Carter right now is one of, one of the people out in Los Angeles. That’s threatening to take over the, the, the housing because he feels that it’s being so mismanaged. And I, I happen to be very sympathetic with, with what he’s saying. And so I think that misperception you’re talking about is the main point of this podcast right now is to try to highlight the possibility not to diss any of the programs at all that are doing great work, but to really create greater flexibility in zoning and, and, and, and, and, and supporting the political will by people speaking, out writing letters and doing what they can, having conversations with everyone that I know, and hopefully with some connected people.

Charlie Ligety: (29:11)
Yeah. And, and, um, and, you know, the, the, uh, I guess the last point just about the rapid shelters that are sort of on display here too, is like, um, sort of, because there’s so much fragmentation or like each city is sort of working in their own silo, it has kind of created, um, the opportunity for new ideas to sort of, uh, spring up or be tried in cities. And so I think like what we’re trying to do now is really shine a light on like the developments that are using like an innovative new, um, shelter system or, or sort of technology or approach to kind of create that same template that cities like Los Angeles are looking to other cities to learn from, to say, look, there’s like, not just those two cities, but you can learn from all these other places too, that are doing really cool things or really interesting things. Um, because I think it’s sort of, uh, trying to remove that, that fear of the unknown by just making it very mundane and just, you know, you’re copying someone else’s program, so there’s no risks that you’re taking whatsoever.

Robert Strock: (30:21)
What’s the website that’s best for people just to see what you have to offer and what you’ve been presenting to, to relate to the world.

Charlie Ligety: (30:29)
Well, I mean, so our initiative that focuses on just illustrating, you know, and, and sorting out, um, the, the, all the different rapidly deployable shelter solutions is the Rapid Shelter Showcase. So that’s shelter. That’s kind of like a part, uh, kind of growing global conference around, you know, what are the latest trends in rapid shelter? And it’s also, you know, works as a sort of actionable catalog that governments can use to find vendors that have solutions willing and ready to go. Um, and then as far as the, the deal templates are, what other cities are doing to address homelessness is another initiative we have, which is called Project Spotlight, which is, um,

Robert Strock: (31:14)
Great. Well, I can only say from what I’ve seen in the many times, I’ve watched your presentations, you’ve done your part. I don’t think, I don’t think the issue is going to be, gee, we can’t figure out how to find any housing that’s affordable. I think you’ve done it. You’ve done a magnificent job. And I think it’s highlighted the personal responsibility. Every one of us has for being part of not being passionate about having everybody, having an opportunity to have housing. You know, our, our, our lifestyle is much more important than, than taking care of people that are on the streets. And so I, I think it’s very, very important, not from the point of view of guilt, but, but from the point of view of caring and from the point of view of really having people mobilize to reach out in whatever way they can, can you, can you see any way at all that, that, that the, uh, the average person in, in any city that really wants to make a difference, is it calling call Congressman, is, is it, what do you, what do you see as being the number one or two or three most effective ways just briefly so we can get through what we need to get through?

Charlie Ligety: (32:20)
Yeah, I mean, I think, um, well, when I, when I, when I think back to like the Project Spotlights we’ve done, um, of how those projects came to be, rather than sort of inventing, like, what can we do in the future? It’s sorta like, well, what’s been done in the past to get to the result that we want in the future. So it’s sort of like, you know, looking at those templates, um, it typically starts with, um, the mayor’s office or, or, you know, the, the political leaders, uh, making an emergency ordinance or declaring some form of crisis to basically break down the barriers between all, all those different silos in the departments, the fire marshall and, you know, building and safety and, um, sort of everyone that needs to sign off on building more housing to sort of actually, you know, work quickly to do it, the innovations and the innovators are already out there, they just aren’t being celebrated.

Charlie Ligety: (33:20)
Um, and they’re not in there and their stories aren’t being told to the fullest extent that can have the highest impact. So, you know, we, aren’t trying to come in and be like shoving innovation, you know, like down, down anyone’s, uh, certain if anyone’s like, sort of purview, we’re just trying to basically say, you know, if you’re, if you’re looking to do things a different way or, or improve the way that you’re doing things, it’s, it’s like, you know, it’s like anything else you just learn from others. And so we’re just trying to make that process much, much faster and simpler, just simply learn from what other people are doing. And so if people are innovating in their, like, we, we want to tell that story and showcase it and bring it to people’s attention.

Robert Strock: (34:02)
Well, all I can tell you is, uh, from everything I’ve seen, you, you’ve already done it. You’re going to bring more and more, but I think it is going to be a matter of reaching out to the mayor’s office, reaching out to Lahsa, sending letters, um, because you, you really have given the options. You’re a little nicer than I am. Um, in terms of, in terms of I would, I would really, uh, I would hit up all of us really for, for not really being passionate about really doing what it takes to get people off the streets and not only into housing, but into communities where they can have a sense of community where they can learn the skills or have the specific care they need, if they have addiction issues or dealing with addiction, if they, if they have employment issues are dealing vocational care and they have a sense of liking the community they’re in and they, they, they have a sense of neighborhood where they are, and that’s my big rooting.

Robert Strock: (35:01)
And I just, I just want to really honor you as, as somebody that’s really given one massively key components of so many innovative options to every community, that’s really one key step that’s of support for the unsheltered community. So I, I, I really, I really thank you for that. And I, I hope, I hope that everybody that’s really listening, uh, feels inspired to take some kind of personal responsibility to write a letter, to have a conversation, to take it, take it in personally, as you and I, as you said, very well, it’s not just politicians. It’s, it’s, it’s the political will, that comes from all of us. And so I think it’s all of our responsibility,

Charlie Ligety: (35:43)
Like one, maybe one other action. It’s like, so, you know, when we do see these transitional village, uh, shelters and villages pop up in other cities, um, what I found is like really inspiring is like, once, like the opportunity is created for people to contribute and come together, people really do come together. It’s just like, no one knows what the first step is. You know, like people want to like, you know, do something, but unless a city provides the opportunity for the residents to actually, you know, show up at a site and do a build day or, um, you know, sort of, and help build a shelter or, you know, uh, do landscaping or, or something like the hands-on or, you know, help fund the development. One of these shelters, it’s really hard for all of us to sort of, um, collectively coordinate, you know, it’s, it’s, it can be done, but like, um, what you, what you see is like, once you have like a shelter site sort of picked out, you know, these are, these are adopted by so many different organizations in the community that like, before this, I had no idea how to ever get involved, and now they can have like a volunteer days there.

Charlie Ligety: (36:53)
Um, it’s just, it creates much more of a platform for empowerment to it’s like, it’s not, I mean, like it’s hard, it’s, it’s hard to say like, yeah, write a letter or have a conversation. Cause it’s like, it doesn’t feel like that’s, that’s really tangibly solving the problem. But if the opportunity is presented to us to like, you know, get our, get our hands on it, um, and they could feel tangible. I think a lot more people will show up. And we, and we, and I know that because I’ve seen it happen in so many other cities.

Robert Strock: (37:20)
I completely agree with you. And I think that I’m being a bit more sensitive to it being COVID time and there being a circumstance, but by the time this is being heard, it’s not, it’s not going to be COVID time, hopefully. And then I totally agree with you getting directly involved. And I want to give, um, as being a place that if anybody really wants to try to find their location, we will happy, happy to be a conduit, to refer to other people that are actively doing things, because what we don’t lack, which is really the good news is there are plenty of people that really want to provide the service that are skilled, that are professionals that really, uh, understand how to do it. I think the creativity of having it being comprehensive care and having it be comprehensive communities and, and, uh, you know, and having it be much more precise to the needs of the communities to have them have a pride. That’s the key thing. Yeah. So I, I, I, I just want to thank you very much for your, not only your contribution, but for coming and sharing this with our public and, um, and just doing such a key part for the unsheltered community.

Charlie Ligety: (38:28)
Oh, thank you. Thank you for those kind words. I appreciate it.

Robert Strock: (38:32)
Okay. Thanks so much.

Robert Strock PhoitoJoin The Conversation
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