Friday, May 13, 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come: "The Crossings" Homeless Shelter in Charlottesville, VA

The City of Charlottesville, and its ding-dong Mayor Dave Norris, have never met a wasteful “infrastructure” spending project that they did not like. To wit: “The Crossings,” a high-rise homeless shelter, to be built on land that the city council re-zoned, purchased for $1.55 million, and then transferred ownership of, to a shell corporation of a “non-profit” homeless advocacy group. “Virginia Supportive Housing,” the parent of the shell corporation, calls the $1.55 million a “loan” from the city.

According to The Hook, the poor poor pitiful poor homeless people who will infest the shelter will pay 30% of their income, or $50, per month, whichever is greater. The city and the non-profit plan to have half of the 60 units reserved for the homeless, with the remainder to be rented out to suckers willing to shell out $500 each to live in a 360 square foot studio in a soon-to-be tenement.

What will happen to the $1.55 million that the city “loaned” to the non-profit group? Since they don’t make profits, how will the money be generated to repay the loan? What if no one besides the homeless wants to live in a homeless shelter, and no units are rented at full price? Will the city bring in even more homeless people to occupy the building? What will the maintenance of the building cost? If public housing and “section 8” housing are any indication of future results, the shelter will be a big loser, with the taxpayers left holding the bag for the foolishness of government. What else is new?

“It’s about doing things smarter,” says Mayor Dave Norris, who may be borderline retarded.

The impetus of this boondoggle reportedly comes from a 2006 New Yorker article in which a dummy journalist “relates the tale of a lovable-yet-hopeless Reno, Nevada, drunk named Murray Barr. Over a decade, Barr ran up a million-dollar tab in public services including frequent emergency room visits and repeated arrests and incarcerations for public intoxication."  Sounds like a guy I would want living across the hall from my apartment.

"It would probably have been cheaper," the author concludes, "to give him a full-time nurse and his own apartment."

The article in the Hook continues by making the preposterous claim that the shelter will be a net savings for the city and the local indigent hospital, UVA HealthSystem:
Norris says that UVA hospital spends about $11,000 per year on each of the 20 most habitual emergency room users. And Charlottesville planning director Jim Tolbert says there's one Charlottesville man who has been arrested over 700 times.

Yes, what a fantastic idea! Everyone should get free housing, free healthcare, free food, free everything! We would all be so much better off!

Of course, this is a stupid idea. It reminds me of the courtroom scene in The Fountainhead, when Howard Roark is put on trial for blowing up a building he designed, which was to become a low-rent housing project
"The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.

The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.

…To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.

The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism.

Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self.

…Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.

…As poles of good and evil, [man] was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism – the sacrifice of self to others. This tied men irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal – under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon mankind.

Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence, initiative and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.

Rulers of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.

Now observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation, or any precept of altruism. It was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else’s. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. Look into your own conscience.

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