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Homeless Housing Solutions: Wooden Pallet Homes

Updated on June 19, 2014

BACKGROUND

In recent years, as many as 3.5 million people have been homeless each year in the United States. On any given week, there are over 800,000 homeless in America.

The largest percentage of these is made up of families with children, which account for 23% of the homeless.

On any given week, as many as 43% of the homeless are Veterans.

Homelessness is a national shame, a cancer that few want to talk about and yet is seen by most citizens on a daily basis.

Fact: last year there were 150 million discarded pallets in landfills across the United States.

What Is Being Done About It

Well, very little as a matter of fact, and if the economic predictions are correct, homelessness will increase rather than decrease in the coming years.

Yes, there are homeless shelters, but they are not nearly enough. Nightly across this country, homeless citizens are turned away from shelters already overflowing past their planned capacities. Budget cuts invariably target Social Services when money is tight, so to think that suddenly that trend will be reversed is a fool’s dream.

So what can be done?

I suspect, and I have no data to back this up, that most cities are at a loss for a solution to the homeless problem. The city where this writer lives, Olympia, Washington, is the capitol of the state. Government buildings are everywhere that you look, and so, sadly, are the homeless. In a city where government is the number one employer, the sight of the unemployed and homeless is the sight one remembers when walking the streets.

So what can be done?

Building Homes With Pallets

Pallets to the Rescue

Watch the video to the right of this page. It chronicles one group’s idea of building alternative housing using discarded pallets. It is ingenuous and it is doable. A two or three person team can build a 300 square foot home in four or five days, and the cost is ridiculously small because the pallets can be found just about anywhere. Remember the figure from earlier in this article: 150 million discarded pallets in landfills across this country.

Using 150 pallets to make a home means that in this country, right now, are the resources needed to build one million homes for the homeless.

So How Would It Work?

I don’t have a clue, but all solutions begin with ideas, and this is an idea that has not been tried in the United States, so why not? I can envision cities setting aside property for a pallet housing project. Let volunteers and the homeless build the homes; bring in port-o-potties, and pipe in water for a community kitchen like you see in many parks. Sure there would be an expense to the city, but it would be made up for by having less social services needed in the cities.

Give people a reason to live; give them something to be proud of; give them a chance to rise out of the gutter and get their lives back in order. No, it does not put them back to work, but it takes the first big step of giving them some dignity. From there, who knows what could happen.

There Will Always Be Naysayers

Of course there are; you can find them every single time a new idea is proposed. They are not solution-oriented but rather they are pontificators of the negative.

Don’t tell me something can’t possibly work; give me ideas on how we can make it work.

What I know for a fact is that what we are doing as a society is not working, so here is an idea that can work. Right now our proposed solution is to do nothing. City governments adopt a blind philosophy to the homeless; as long as they aren’t panhandling too much or committing crimes, then they are just ignored as part of the landscape. There is no solution in that attitude; we step over and around the problem rather than doing something to eliminate the problem.

I will always remember arriving in Beaverton, Oregon for a teaching assignment. I arrived on a Friday in August, got settled into my new apartment, and then drove around town to get acclimated. When the drive was over I was left with a feeling that something was missing. It took me several days to realize what that something was: there were no homeless on the streets of Beaverton. I found that so amazing because I had come from Olympia, Washington, where the homeless are a part of the everyday landscape.

Of course I had to find out why there were no homeless. I mean surely there were poor people in Beaverton. Where were they?

It took me several weeks to find the answer. One of my student’s parents was a police officer, so I asked him about the lack of homeless, and he told me that there was a city ordinance that forbid them being in Beaverton. The city had, in effect, zoned out the homeless and sent them on their way to another city, and sure enough, during another of my drives, you could find homeless right outside the city limits of Beaverton.

In other words, the city officials of Beaverton dealt with homelessness by forbidding it and shuffling it off to another city. My friends, that is not a solution; that is a knee-jerk reaction that solves nothing other than to make the business owners of Beaverton happy.

Cob Construction

Let’s Be Realistic

Homelessness is not going to disappear! It will only increase until something is done with the economy that makes it possible for more people to find employment.

We cannot adopt a policy of turning a blind eye; that kind of myopic thinking is beneath us as a civilization. The homeless are made up of people just like you and me. Of course there are alcoholics and drug addicts among the homeless, but I can say with all certainty that there are also alcoholics and drug addicts in the “normal” population as well.

Also among that homeless population are former teachers, former soldiers and former housewives. There are people from every walk of life out on the streets, and it is a pox on the collective soul of this country.

Pallet housing is a solution. Someone recently suggested building homes using cob construction, as it is sturdier and very inexpensive. I’m all for it. I’m all for any forward thinking that is aimed at ending this blight on society.

I am of the opinion that it is time to stop putting bandages on cancerous tumors, and work on curing the cancer. It is the only thing that makes sense from an economic standpoint, and it is the only thing that makes sense from a humanitarian standpoint.

Humanity One World; we are all in this together.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • profile image

      JThomp42 4 years ago

      Great hub as usual Bill! This does make so much since. But, as you said people just want to ignore these 800,000 HUMAN BEINGS as being unworthy. This is an issue (especially children) that is really heart breaking my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeff, it is indeed! So many homeless families, and a government that seems to be paralyzed. Maybe someday, right? We can only hope and pray. Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you!

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 4 years ago

      Great hub Billy and I so agree...we may not have all the answers but continuing to come up with ideas cannot be futile. I have often wondered about all the empty buildings sitting around. Why they cannot be opened up for shelter? A stray dog or cat is able to find shelter surely a town or city can do more. Forgo some of the "fun stuff" and put the money where it counts...Thanks Billy!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      The Pallet houses seem like a very creative and helpful idea to the homeless, who clearly need it. Thanks for sharing and I hope more projects like these will come up.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      This is a wonderful idea. I, for one, would be thrilled to be a part of something like this! There are so many homeless people where I live , it is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this! Up+++ and sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sunnie, you raise a great point. Every city in America has a vacant building that could be used....give these people some self-respect and a chance at a new beginning. For many that's all it would take.

      Thank you my friend; have a great weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, I'm sure there are many who can tell me why this idea is a bad one; there always are. I want people to tell me how to make it work. Those are the people I like to hang out with.

      Thank you Michelle and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, I would be too. I'd be right there with hammer and nails to help put these homes up. So simple to make; all we need is communities willing to step outside the box and be creative and proactive.

      Thank you Randi; I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Beaverton, Org. - Well- isn't that such a GREAT solution....zone out the homeless and the problem is solved! Yup - lets turn our back on them, get them our of our city limits and we won't need to be reminded of the problem. Rather than help them, let's just get rid of em'.

      You will be happy to know that your Hub "Tiny Houses" concept was also instituted to help the homeless. A group of students from Emily Carr University in Canada took on a class project to implement what they learned while providing community support. They designed amazing 64 square ft. houses costing less than $1000. each. Charity organizations are footing the bill for building hundreds and private individuals have donated acreage. Canada also feels this is a great alternative instead of a tent city.

      It is affordable and gives individuals a chance to rebuild their lives while some added security, warmth and comfort. It also helps restore some of the important levels of self-pride. Same concept as this awesome pallet idea.

      Excellent article Billy and just thought you would like to know what these kids in Canada came up with.

      Love,

      Beckie XO

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      I agree this is such a wonderful and great suggestion. You laid out the reasons why and how this can be done right here perfectly. I totally agree something needs to be done and this truly gives a great alternative the obvious stance of doing nothing, because that seems to getting us nowhere very fast. Great job Bill and only hope that this could actually be done and am hopeful with you a the voice behind it that it will!! Have of course voted way up and shared as always!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I simply do not understand the attitude of cities regarding the homeless. It is basic common decency that a solution be found. I applaud those kids in Canada. What a great sense of community they have, and the compassion they are showing is inspirational. Thank you for sharing that with me.

      Blessings and love always,

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I just don't understand how cities can do nothing about this. It would benefit every citizen if some proactive steps like these were taken, and yet city after city does nothing.....okay, they have soup kitchens and homeless shelters, but that is a temporary fix at best.

      Thank you as always for sharing and just for being who you are.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      I hope you've passed this on to your local authorities etc and pestered them about it! We have a campaign in Britain to use empty houses, or try to get the owners to look after them and use them for rent. No doubt we have pallets and the like too. Great idea and well written, as usual. Voted up, etc.

    • sherrituck profile image

      Sherri Tuck 4 years ago from Virginia

      It is difficult to understand why people turn their heads to avoid the issue of homelessness. I work with my city's food pantry and free clinic and I know from my work that people do not deserve to live under these circumstances. Thank you for presenting such a wonderful suggestion.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Awesome Ideas Bill, I am working on a couple Ideas as well and have the beginnings on my site. But this is brilliant!

      Mark

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Bill, I linked to this from my Empty Box Page, Mark

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill....This is another terrific hub offering a potential solution to a problem that is shameful in the U.S., a country that wastes billions of tax dollars on stupid (yes, stupid!) projects, and I include the billions spent on that Mars roamer that will yield nothing truly helpful to this country except to satisfy the curiosity of a few scientists and space geeks! Call me a curmudgeon if you will, but every time I see another article about something useless "seen" by the Mars rover, I immediately think of how that money could benefit the homeless on THIS planet, in THIS country!

      And I find it equally galling that the U.S. sends billions in foreign aid to other countries, some of which make no secret of the fact their governments hate us and would destroy us if they could. I realize that some of this aid is humanitarian in nature while some is meant to tamp down hostilities, but it really isn't working. Meanwhile, the numbers of homeless are again growing in the U.S., while our government turns a mainly blind eye to the problem, using only the "bandaid" approach, as you said, rather than finding a real solution to help our needy citizens.

      This idea has so much merit--both for providing shelter from the elements (which might appeal to those mentally ill homeless who do not want to go to shelters even when they're available) and for ridding the country's landfills of all those pallets, which is so wasteful of usable material it should be a crime. Your suggestion about municipalities spending funds for porta-potties could be extended to the types of restrooms with showers found in campgrounds, and the community kitchen is just an extension of soup kitchens which could benefit from volunteerism and donations. Practical, workable solutions should be viewed positively by government entities from the local level to the federal. The time for burying heads in the sand about the homeless is long past!

      Keep it up, Bill! Your commitment to H.O.W. shines in every hub that offers solutions instead of simply decrying the problems. Those of us who agree with you can share your hubs and contact our municipal, state and federal officials to spread these recommendations. As you say, we're all in this together, and it's by working together that we can get something done about the problems that plague the planet.

      Thanks (again)! I am so proud to call such a humanitarian as you Friend. Voted Up++++ and shared.

      Jaye

    • HLPhoenix profile image

      HLPhoenix 4 years ago

      Finally... an article about the homeless that... rather than disparaging them or written as a bleeding heart (aren't I empathetic) article... comes up with solid solutions. Excellent idea. My friend uses those discarded pallets in her basement to raise her boxes up off the floor in case of flooding.

      We all see the homeless everywhere... not nearly as much here in the NE but in California you literally (as you allude) step over and around them, sleeping on the streets. It is heartbreaking. Cities say they can't just use old buildings with out fixing them up... health laws, insurance problems etc...

      It does seem like a simple solution to a complex problem, one that is growing every day. Excellent, informative Hub voted up and sharing.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Bill, this is a very interesting hub and video, offering real and realistic solutions. This does sound like it could be a good solution in some countries. I guess solutions aren't always straightforward. I suspect these pallet homes would not be allowed in the UK because planning permission has gone somewhat wild here.

      In fact, in the UK we have a strange situation: there are apparently considerably more empty houses than there are homeless people. I say apparently because no one is exactly sure of the number of homeless, but it's estimated at at least 400,000 and there are over 700,000 empty homes in England alone! So, in theory, there is no need for anyone to be homeless in Britain and yet so many are.

      I was interested to see that so many of the homeless in the US are veterans. Do you know why that is?

      Great hub.

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 4 years ago from Texas

      Anything that helps the unfortunate.... be it abused children or homeless people.... is a good thing.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Pallet housing sounds like a great plan. What are the cobs used for? Insulation?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, nice to see you my friend. Another hubber mentioned the empty houses in Britain.....it would be great if they could be used. This problem needs to go away, and some government needs to be the first to address it with an innovative idea. Thank you as always; I hope you and your family are well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sherri, I will never understand why this is allowed to continue. Makes no sense to me when there are so many ideas out there that could work. Thank you for the work that you do.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I'm looking forward to reading about your ideas. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mark! I'll be over to visit in awhile.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      HL, thank you! This is a growing situation on the west coast and someone needs to confront it and do something. Simply feeding the homeless is not enough. I appreciate you stopping by; thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Yvonne! The Veterans are seeing major government delays in getting their benefits. Plus, so many of them are not trained for employment; they have been soldiers right out of high school and have no job skills. Still more suffer from PTSD and need social services that are very slow in coming to their aid. It is a societal shame that those who protect us can't get the help they need.

      Thank you for telling me about the empty homes in England; very interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lindalou, I completely agree....this issue has to be addressed on the local and national level.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Deb! It's called cob construction, a mixture of sand, dirt and straw....used in Europe during the MIddle Ages and is seeing a Renaissance now because it is so inexpensive to built.

      I didn't know until I looked it up. :) Thank you; heading over to visit with you shortly.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      as the government funds fish hatcheries in Alaska...mmmm... Why not allocate just a few dollars for at least a roof, a bathroom, a bed and a place to be warm. Seems easy enough. So much money goes to take care of people in other countries..don't you wonder why not here????

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Both of those homes look fantastic. They may be small, but that is fine. Who needs a mansion? Not my family. I would rather have a close family, then one where everyone is in a different room.

      Fantastic hub!

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Merriment 4 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      I love this idea and plan to share it with others. I hope this idea catches on and somewhere along the way, I hope that as a community, we can figure out how to make it happen.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Those cute little houses would also be cool for vacations or start up homes if you buy rural land. One of the problems I see with the slat homes in urban areas is that people nearby would complain - not in my backyard. Folks would object to shanty towns.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      You said it loud and clear, billybuc, "Homelessness is a national shame..." It is so sad to think of how people who are homeless are treated. I like your idea of using pallets. But, I know that if other planning committees are like the planning committees in my area, there is already an ordinance against building such structures. In the county where I live, people are fined for giving food to homeless people. How dare we attempt to build a house for them. It is a crying shame.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, your praise humbles me. Thank you! I'm just a man who has seen too much suffering and is tired of it. Every single thing that you wrote is true. I have had some rather heated discussions with Bev about the space program. I'll tell you what: when we can guarantee that everyone who wants a job can have one, and when we can guarantee that nobody is homeless, then I'll root on the Mars probe. Until then, nobody can convince me of its worth.

      Thank you for sharing, but more importantly, thank you for caring so much about your fellow man and woman.

      bill

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      "that kind of myopic thinking is beneath us as a civilization...." powerful words, that not enough people accept, much less believe sincerely. Oh, but it IS, in fact beneath us, if in fact we count ourselves amongst the humans who inhabit this earth.

      No need for me to go near the subject of our Veterans....I promised myself, "no rants today." Perhaps tomorrow...for we really must not allow too much rest....which in turn, becomes laziness..and in turn to a lack of empathy and compassion......And the latter, Lord knows, is why we have homeless in the United States of America.

      Shame, disgust and anger, literally consumes me, when I read of the billions, the thugs in power send willingly and freely to those who HATE us and wish us total destruction.................UP+++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I do wonder, and then I get mad, and then I look for solutions. I'm not sure if anyone is listening to my solutions, but at least I feel like something is being done, as opposed to what the government is doing, which is practically nothing. Thank you my friend; have a great weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michele, and I agree. The important thing is to give the homeless some dignity and safety, and a roof over their heads is a start.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, that is my hope too; until it happens, I'll keep shouting from the mountaintops and hope someone listens.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dolores, without a doubt there would be opposition from some of the taxpayers; most likely the same taxpayers who complain that there are too many homeless beggars on the streets of their cities. :)

      Thank you for a valid comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I have no doubt that you are right about the zoning; it makes no sense to complain about the homeless and then complain about a solution for the homeless. What, then, is the solution? To continue doing what we have been doing, which is ignore the problem while more die?

      It's enough to make me a crazy man, if that hasn't happened already. LOL

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, there is so much wrong with the system that I fear I will become a raving lunatic in a padded cell. There is no justice in this country until our Veterans are off the streets and given the care that they deserve. 43% of the homeless are Veterans! How does that happen?

      Okay, I'm going to go have a cup of tea and settle down.

      Thanks Paula; you can hang in my neighborhood any old time you want.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 4 years ago

      Hi Billy,

      I read this hub yesterday and even wrote a comment but must of got side tracked as it looks like I did not follow through..hehe

      This has always troubled me, why so many go without shelter when there are so many empty building across the USA. We are forever building new and bigger, leaving old buildings behind to rot. I honestly cringe when I see so much waste. I think we have to offer ideas and we should never stop putting them out there. Some may even take root. Thank you for always trying!

      God bless,

      Sunnie

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      This is so awesome! My husband used to work at a bottling company that had stacks of these outback just going to waste. I can't think of better use for them. Loved the video and the people who discovered this way of recyling for the homeless. I am going to share this with our outreach center for the homeless. I think I could live in one of these -- very comfy and just right.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      The trouble is the do gooders or somebody would stop it in many cases. They would find some reason for not letting it happen.

      In Australia, we are selling our land to other countries to do their own thing . Yet those same countries would never let us buy properties in their countries.

      This always makes me wonder. We are not the smart country we give our money to other countries instead of helping our own needy people.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sunnie! I'm sure there are many who will say this is unrealistic, but I don't see anything else working. If we have money for helping other countries then we should have money for helping our own homeless.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dianna! I used to work at a warehouse and we would have hundreds of pallets sitting outside not being used. What better use for them, right?

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      What is wrong with using government buildings for the homeless. Most government buildings are empty except for 40 or 50 hours a week. All musing aside this is a wonderful idea. I saw a hub last year where they used pallets for a bunch of things. Absolutely love creative solutions.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tireless, my sarcastic side tells me that not much is done in government buildings even when they are working there. LOL I think it's about time the government looks at creative solutions to this problem.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eileen, I have no answers as to why governments don't take care of their own needy people, but I think it is a shame. Yes, there will be those do gooders who want to stop it, but this is just basic human kindness. We can't let people live like this. :) Thank you!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Right you are about gov. buildings. LOL Government is never creative. Look at the tax code.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      We waste money like it is useless paper...sending aid to countries that do not need it just so they will like us, bankrolling pork barrel spending so we can find out how fast ketchup comes out of a barrel...and yet, we allow people to live in the street and I say this tongue in cheek since they are not living but existing in a hopeless void.

      I have read articles about the success of pallet houses and your suggestion of using this concept to provide housing for the homeless needs to go write to the top! Pallets are thrown out every day....what a perfect solution..pure genius Bill.

      Voted all the way across(except funy of course)

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is a great idea Bill, I don't know anything about your planning regulations, I am sure there would be problems and lots of red tape over here. But this idea would kill 2 birds with one stone, housing and less landfill so why not, it would be a win/win all around.

      The Salvation army and volunteers are building homes her for the homeless, mostly kit sets but it is a start to getting someone back on their feet. We still have families who lost everything in the Sept 2010 earthquakes here STILL homeless.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tireless....exactly right! LOL Thank you again!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosemay, that is unbelievable! Two years! We still have people displaced from Katrina and that's been three years I think. I simply don't understand governments....probably never will. :) Thank you once again!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      This is great information and as you say we have to cure the cancer instead of putting bandages over it. Thank you for sharing this information, did not know about it at all.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. SF is still mulling over those "spaces" you may have heard about.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Australia (Melbourne) have a unique way of disposing of the problem. If you are homeless and not an Australian citizen then they buy you an air ticket back to where you cam from. If you are a woman married to and Australian and have children born in Australia and the family is homeless then the woman AND her Australian children are sent back to where she originated from. There have been big debates on the fairness of this, some think it the best thing way while others think it is wrong especially sending the children who are citizens away.

    • Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

      Deepak Chaturvedi 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Some good information here to share with others who keen to know about the options to build house.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is a brilliant thought to use discarded pallets and put them to good use housing the homeless. As you said, all of the homeless people trying to live on our streets is a cancer in our society and shameful. The video showing the building designs and what it takes to put these type of houses together is really good. I am sure that there would be many homeless people willing to build them if only given the land space and the materials and someone to guide them in the process. Hopefully more people will see this hub of yours and get the ball rolling in the right direction. Up votes and definitely sharing. Thanks!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I do not know why someone had not started doing this back when so many people lost their homes and were forced to live on the streets. I agree with Sunnie, there are many empty buildings that could be made into shelters. Great hub Bill...Thank's.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Mary, I was hoping for funny! LOL It obviously will have its detractors who will say it is not practical, but how practical is it to have millions living on the streets? We can't ignore this problem; it is beneath us as human beings.

      Thank you for your compassion!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are welcome, Vellur; thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I have heard about them. Thanks for reminding me of them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosemay, that kind of thinking drives me crazy. It ignores the bigger picture, one of humanity, and treating others with compassion. I think every politician should have to live on the streets for a month. It might be an eye-opener for them.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deepak; they are very economical and quite easy to build.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, I always gauge something by whether I could do it, and I know for a fact I could build one of these houses, and if I could do it then anyone could do it. :) I hope someone listens. Thank you for the visit my friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I have no doubt it has to do with budgets in cities, but that simply is an unacceptable excuse, as if human misery should be part of a budget! I will never understand that way of thinking.

      Thank you my friend!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      What an interesting and useful idea for repurposing pallets. Pinning so more people can see this and possibly get ideas for their own communities.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, Glimmer! I'm sure there are those who will say this is impractical, but in my mind so is homelessness. :)

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I would imagine that Habitat for Humanity would be interested in repurposing pallets for housing, Bill. The mayor of St. Louis has spent resources on driving the homeless out of downtown St. Louis. He is more concerned with consumerism and tourism than broken human beings. The Rev. Larry Rice, a community activist for the homeless population, spent a few days before Thanksgiving in jail for a peaceful protest, similar to an event endeavoring to help the homeless during the extreme heat of the summer. Another state bought one-way tickets to Hawaii for the homeless. Some of their beaches are now packed with tents occupied by the poor. They were considered unsightly so they hussled them to a warmer clim, not caring whether they could afford to eat while in Hawaii and with no means to get back. Homeless dogs have a better chance of finding a forever home.

      Great idea, Bill, that needs the clout, know how and experience of many to put your idea to action. Thank you for caring, my friend. Everything positive begins there.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, ideas like sending the homeless to Hawaii curl my innards. It reminds me of the idea before the Civil War to take all blacks and send the to their own country....Liberia....so the problem would disappear here in the U.S. It's that kind of myopic thinking that perpetuates the problems in this country.

      Thank you as always my friend; I will visit your new hub shortly.

      love,

      bill

    • profile image

      mours sshields 4 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Wonderful ideas! Amazing! I agree. I especially love the cob construction. I think it's charming, like something out of a fairy tale!

      Marcia Ours

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      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Bill, I really like how you put in there to get the homeless to build their shelter. We could help, but to give them the tools to do it. Reminds me of the Old Testament laws of leaving the edges of your fields for the homeless and needy to glean from. Gleaning requires work to procure your own food. It inspires self-reliance on self and God. It also makes a person to feel good to enjoy the fruits of their labor.....self worth. Great hub and I appreciate the great ideas!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Building a pallet house is a wonderful idea, Bill! I've heard of cob houses before, but not of pallet houses. They could be a great solution for people without a home.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marcia, those cob houses are like out of the Hobbit....and they are cute and very easy to build.

      Thank you Marcia!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kas, I am all for teaching and then letting someone do their own work. The homeless need to feel a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. That will only come from earning their way, but they need a hand to get started.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, they are so incredibly easy to build; literally can be built in a week at a very low cost.

      Thank you again for the visit.

    • Arthur Bundy profile image

      Arthur Bundy 4 years ago from Colorado Springs

      I know many homeless people in Colorado Springs. At one time I was one of them. I know what it means to be disillusioned with society.

      Our so-called enlightened Major has established a law that prevents homeless people from panhandling in the downtown area. And, then a federal judge is challenging the constitutionality of the law as we speak.

      It won't go into effect until there is a ruling.

      Even when the unemployed are at 5% of the workforce, it's like people see that as a consequence of the free market and not the black eye it reflects of itself on our indifference as a society.

      Good work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Arthus, I was homeless as well, and I can tell you, attitudes would change if the lawmakers had to live on the streets for a month. You make an interesting point, and a valid point, that homelessness is seen as a natural by-product of a free enterprise system. Just the cost of doing business, and as such is not really seen as a problem.

      I happen to disagree, and I'm going to keep speaking out about this important subject.

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      Arthur Bundy 4 years ago

      billybuc:

      Thank you.

      Some more food for thought.

      The fundamental difference between the rural society of yesterday and the urban society of today, is that a rural society had the means to fend for its itself. The United States was rural society, going into the Great Depression. You hunted to survive. Today that is primarily illegal, except during hunting season.

      The issue about the homeless, is the need to recognize that interdependence is what must be developed for our society to be to the benefit of all.

      We hear lot about a socialized society. Corporations have established well oiled and well financed control over our political process. They fail to understand that their methods are socialistic. A government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation, is not "of the people, by the people, and for the people", but the many being dictated too by the few.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Arthur, you make some valid and exceptional points. I do believe this issue will only intensify in the next few years; we are headed in a direction that will be difficult to detour, but detour we must if society as a whole is to benefit.

      Thank you for you insights.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      Wooden pallet homes don't look bad at all and still can be humane solution for homeless people.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Bill, this was really creative and an excellent write. I keep thinking about homelessness and am quite aggravated that the homeless are so often perceived as "dirty little trolls". I want to ask those with the attitude how a homeless person is supposed to keep clean and tidy? There are some really bright minds living under bridges and behind dumpsters and we need to find solutions. You've certainly come up with some excellent ideas.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

      Great hub! This would work IF the country really cared to help the homeless, which it obviously does not. Like this hub though.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      There is a sentiment about that I happen to agree with. It is summed up in the adage, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps." I do think that adage has validity in our society. Free everything gets us nowhere. Having said that, I agree fully with your article. Many of the homeless would gladly pull themselves up by the bootstraps if they had bootstraps, or boots. This housing idea is interesting. Building codes could easily sidetrack it, but that is no reason not to pursue it. At least force those who oppose doing the right thing to blatantly outlaw such constructions. Eventually we, as a society, will wake up and demand that we take care of our own.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Agusfanani, yes they can, and it is very doable and logical, which probably means it will never be done. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Linda! It is an endless cycle; how do they find work when they can't clean themselves up, or when they don't have an address for mail or an email address for job searches? Impossible, and yet the government wants to believe they do not exist. Inexcusable in this country.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi, you are right on with that assessment of the situation. Quite obviously the government does not care, and that is the biggest crime of all.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cam, I happen to agree with that old sentiment, but I also know that it is impossible to do so without a basic foundation to begin the re-building process. Thank you for an excellent comment my friend.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      By the way, the video is excellent. This actually folds in nicely for my own future. I know the article is about the homeless so I won't elaborate here, but it did give me an idea.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Cam! I was fascinated by the whole process when I first saw it, so much so that I'm building a chicken coop and goat structure out of pallets. If I do that correctly maybe we'll move on to bigger challenges.

    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Harvison 4 years ago from SW Florida

      This is amazing! I think I might have to make a fort for my daughter with this stuff!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Learning, they really are amazing. We are making a chicken coop this spring out of them. The framing for any structure is done once you connect the pallets....very simple construction.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have to start calling you Megan; sounds better than Learning. :)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Heh Billy... interesting stuff here and a novel idea. We are so wasteful here in North America when we think of the possibilities of what could be done.

      Well done and very informative... love the idea.

      Hugs from Canada

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Rolly! It would never work for a myriad of reasons, the most obvious of which is that it makes sense. LOL

      hugs back atcha buddy

      bill

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I've just read that US is full of ghost towns, any possibilities of bringing at least some of these to life again, resources, facilities etc?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rosemay, and you are right.....there are towns that have just dried up. There are alternatives to just stepping over these people like they are not there.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What a great idea. We sometimes bring home wooden pallets to turn the wood into something useful. Glad to see that entire houses are being made from them. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aurelio, they really are a wonderful asset to have for someone with projects to do. Thank you for the visit my friend.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Billy and will again bring hope to many I am sure as your hubs always do.

      This seems to be a great idea.

      I vote up,across and share all around.

      Havea great day and lots of love.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, I think the biggest problem with this hub is that it makes sense. LOL

      Thank you dear lady; have a wonderful day in your little corner of Wales.

      love,

      billy

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      Interesting idea. Last summer I met a farmer from here in Iowa who has been building homes in Haiti with grain bins.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, that's an interesting idea too. I've never heard of that. Cool comment; thank you!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, this is an ingenious idea. Not only is it socially responsible, but environmentally responsible. The pallet video brought up a good point, tho: land. Where would these built? Would the land be donated?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I just toss out ideas; the cities will have to figure it out. Heck, most cities own abundant land; seems it would be worth it to donate some to rid the city of the homelessness problem....but that's progressive thinking that we rarely see in politics today. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I agree, Bill. The cities would probably also rather see the revenue they can earn off the land rather than see it as a tax write-off and a solution to the homeless problem by donating!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, this is what is so maddening about society today; everyone wants to complain but nobody wants to consider a solution. This is doable but it takes progressive and compassionate thinking to accomplish it.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a fabulous idea if any land owner is willing to allow the home to be built on their property. Fixing the problem involves more acceptance, caring, and understanding then our society currently has. This could work if businesses or owners of public property were offered money or tax breaks to allow the houses to be placed in town. But, I love the way you think!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, because of the reason you gave, I'm pretty sure this would never happen, but I also believe until society is willing to think outside the box for solutions then nothing will happen.

      Thank you kind lady; have a great weekend.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 4 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I love the idea of building simple houses from pallets! I wouldn't mind having one myself!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cygnetbrown....LOL...I know; I would live in one of these in a heartbeat....I think they are really cool AND they could solve a huge problem in society.

      Thank you for the visit!

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 4 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      You are very welcome! I look forward to reading more from you!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      DIY Wooden Pallet Homes? It's cool and I will no longer see (perhaps only few) homeless people sleeping along the pavements of commercial buildings and parks or even under the overpass or bridge here in the Philippines. I hope the scheme or program will be adopted here.

      Thanks for sharing this info, Sir Bill. It helps to inspire to adopt this program here in my country.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Travel, I would think in countries such as yours, this idea would be perfect. It is so easy to do. I know that because if I can build one then it has to be easy.

      Thank you Sir!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Hey billy, I was in Oakland, an industrial part I don't frequent often; there were signs on just about every corner offering to buy pallets. I wouldn't have noticed them if I hadn't read this hub last week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tireless, that is interesting. They are in landfills here...people don't know what to do with them.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Ship them to Cali?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tireless, there is probably some good money to be made there. :)

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      This is so interesting! I once built an outdoor bar using wooden pallets and I'm thinking of building a table this summer. Wooden pallets are great! It's even greater if they could be used for building houses for homeless people. What an inspiring hub, Bill. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Made! I love working with pallets. We are building a chicken coop next month using them. I'm excited to see how it turns out. :) Have a great weekend.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      That sounds like a great idea. Thank you, you too! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made...:)

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 4 years ago from On planet Earth

      WAW what an interesting hub the pallets seems to be a great idea i never thought of it ,the house would go up even quicker :).

      Thanks for sharing

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lady! This really is a very simple project and I say that because I am able to do it. :)

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Apologies for being late to respond on this serious subject and what an excellent solution you propose. I agree whole heartily that recycling pallets into dwellings would be a powerful positive towards helping the homeless. Ireland and Dublin where I have lived most of my life, are no strangers either to large numbers of homeless from every walk of life.

      It is frightening and here it is a very real and rising problem. We also have huge numbers of empty houses, flats, apartments like the UK that are sitting unfinished or unused. Pallet housing is such an excellent idea every community, government agency and local council should drive forward with and make positive and real changes affecting real people. Actions speak loud but words are powerful so we ALL need to stand up and share this important message.

      Thank you my friend for writing this with a very real solution.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, you are not the first to mention the empty houses in the UK. I find that very interesting and I wonder what the government plans on doing with them. Such a waste when so many could use them to get back on their feet and find some self-respect.

      Thank you, Irish. I always smile when I see you stop by.

      Have a great weekend my friend.

    • Jesmo profile image

      Jesmo 4 years ago

      Pallets are a great resource, I´ve been using them for years as furniture. A couple of years ago ,we made a super delux chicken house and many a festival bar has been constructed and withstood weeks of drunken assault. It´s a great idea and I love your attitude.... "Don’t tell me something can’t possibly work; give me ideas on how we can make it work."...Fair play.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jesmo, thanks for that. We are in the process right now of making a chicken coop and it's going to seem like a palace to the chickens. :)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      I have a whole pile of pallets in my driveway. Some whiles ago there was a hub on making gardens out of pallets. I will do that with some of them. The rest my children are breaking up for firewood. (therapy, their beloved grandfather died last night)

    • collegedad profile image

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      I've done quite a bit of pallet construction from decks to chicken coops and out buildings. They really do come in handy and they are FREE!

      As for the homeless, maybe if a few pallet communities would pop up here and there our States would be shamed into doing something about homelessness. No one should have to sleep in the streets or shelters. We should all have a roof over our heads.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tireless, I wish I had that pile of pallets. I'm heading out tomorrow to pick up some free pallets that a friend has at her business. I can't wait to start building things. Thank you for the visit and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Collegedad, I agree completely. First, that nobody should have to live like that and secondly, maybe we need to shame some of these local governments into action. Thank you!

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