“California official floats a new idea: House homeless on a cruise ship” (USA Today) ties into some of my favorite themes:
If cruise ships could be used as emergency housing in natural disasters, maybe they could be used to help in Oakland’s emergency: homelessness.
The housing crisis in the city that sits across the bay from San Francisco has resulted in a surge of tent encampments across city sidewalks, under freeway overhangs and in public parks. By the latest count, more than 4,000 people are experiencing homelessness in the city of just over 400,000, up 47% in just two years.
After Kaplan floated the cruise ship idea, it didn’t take long for word to spread. She says she’s already been contacted by cruise ship companies and is planning to present a fully fledged proposal that could add up to 1,000 on-board beds to the council early next year.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came under fire after Hurricane Katrina for fast-tracking a $236 million contract to Carnival Cruise Lines – a big GOP donor – only to house a handful of victims. After evacuees opted for on-land options over the cruise ship cabins, rooms sat empty for weeks.
Former California Rep. Henry Waxman called the incident a “boondoggle” in a letter to Bush sent in 2006, highlighting that for the $240,000 it cost taxpayers to shelter each family the federal government could have built them permanent homes.
I’m waiting for the California social justice advocate who says “As long as they’re on a ship, maybe we could pay some other country to take them in…”
- “A modest proposal for the Carnival Triumph” (floating hospital with Cuban doctors)
- “Permanent Club Med actually is cheaper than current U.S. refugee settlement?”: For refugees who don’t want to swim, windsurf, snorkel, and play tennis at the same resort year after year, Carnival offers cruises for $59 per day per person. Even if there is no discount for children, that’s $86,140 for a year for a family of four. In other words, for a given budgeted amount, it looks as though roughly 4X as many refugees could be rescued by putting them on cruise ships rather than bringing them into the U.S. to live?
- “How do some countries get to be good at making cruise ships?” (Germany, Finland, France, and Italy are leaders)
- “How to lose money: go after the do-gooder market” (Carnival read the Facebook postings of social justice advocates and mistakenly assumed that they’d want to invest a small amount of money and time addressing the causes that they said were their top priorities)