Showing posts with label hotels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hotels. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - SRO

SRO stands for "Single Room Occupancy", sometimes called, "Single Resident Occupancy".  I have always used Single Resident Occupancy, as it made more sense as concerning homelessness and Housing First.  But it wasn't until I returned to San Diego and saw a true SRO, that I learned what an SRO truly is.

The concept for Single Room living spaces came about long ago (the 1800s) when Capitalists were exploiting the lack of housing codes.  (Read about Alonso Horton for more detail.)  Some of the oldest hotels in San Diego were built explicitly for construction workers who were hired to build the more palatial hotels and supply the building boon with cheap labor.  These hotels, built for construction workers, crammed as many people together as possible.  The single rooms were smaller than 10x10 feet square.  Toilets and showers were shared, one per floor.  Downtown San Diego saw many building boons and busts over the years, but there was plenty of room for expansion and so many RSO's were built - a couple dozen or more of these SRO hotels/boarding houses still exist, and charge relatively cheap rent (although the application process and standards are very strict, and residents are paying 60 to 75% of their income for rent).

Because SROs usually offer the least expensive rent, they are the first places that case managers contact when trying to place their clients.   In recent years, most of the SRO building has been contacting with HUD and other government agencies for subsidies in exchange for renting cheaply and for working with Section 8.

It should be noted that these SRO hotels and similar resident buildings were, and in some instances still are, the domain of slum lords.  But these slum lords are finding it more lucrative to partner with government organizations such as HUD, and HUD  requires their properties to meet strict housing codes, which is leading to improvements in these buildings.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Temporary Housing

There is nothing called "temporary housing" in the homeless industry, as far as I can tell.   That is, there are no programs or facilities for the homeless that go by that name.

Still, the wording "temporary housing" is kicked around a lot by those in the homeless industry - it is used in a generic sense referring to shelters and transitional housing programs.

Outside of the homeless industry, the phrase is used to describe short term leases for apartments.   Sometimes these apartments will be labeled "affordable housing", but they are still priced way out of reach of homeless people.

Some people may use "temporary housing" in reference to living indefinitely in cheap hotels and motels. But I just don't see that as being homeless. Sure, people who live long term in hotels may be in a vulnerable state, and very close to becoming homeless, but as long as they are able to pay rent, they shouldn't be considered homeless, not in the technical sense anyway. I am sure that some in the homeless industry will disagree with me on this point, but such is the current state of the industry, as concrete definitions of terms are still elusive.

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