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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Sep 5 02:03 AM

Sept 5, 2009: Trash Houses

Down in Huntsville Texas, Dan Phillips, former Army intelligence officer, college dance instructor, antiques dealer and a syndicated cryptogram puzzle maker, hates house trailers... so a dozen years ago he started a company to make low-income housing out of trash.

Quote:
So far, he has built 14 homes in Huntsville, which is his hometown, on lots either purchased or received as a donation. A self-taught carpenter, electrician and plumber, Mr. Phillips said 80 percent of the materials are salvaged from other construction projects, hauled out of trash heaps or just picked up from the side of the road. “You can’t defy the laws of physics or building codes,” he said, “but beyond that, the possibilities are endless.”


Even using trash and the future owners sweat equity, things don't always work out.

Quote:
While the homes are intended for low-income individuals, some of the original buyers could not hold on to them. To Mr. Phillips’s disappointment, half of the homes he has built have been lost to foreclosure — the payments ranged from $99 to $300 a month.

Some of those people simply disappeared, leaving the properties distressingly dirty and in disrepair. “You can put someone in a new home but you can’t give them a new mindset,” Mr. Phillips said.
Sadly, I think this pretty much reflects what happened to low income housing in this area.

Amazingly, Phillips is making a modest living doing this.

Quote:
Mr. Phillips said it bothered him when his low-income housing became “gentrified.” But if it leads to an acceptance of recycled building materials and a shift away from cookie-cutter standardized construction, he said, “I’m O.K. with it.”

Although it has a social agenda, Phoenix Commotion is not a nonprofit. “I want to show that you can make money doing this,” Mr. Phillips said.

He said he earned enough to live on but he was not getting rich. While he declined to be more specific, he allowed that the business has become more profitable as he has gained construction experience. It now takes six months to build a home rather than the 18 months it took when he started.

link


monster  Saturday Sep 5 02:44 AM

awesome idea, sad reality. Excellent IOTD.



newtimer  Saturday Sep 5 11:15 AM

That's a beautiful ceiling, but now I understand why it took him 18 months to build.



Griff  Saturday Sep 5 11:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
awesome idea, sad reality. Excellent IOTD.
yep.


Kasszia  Sunday Sep 6 12:27 AM

I think it's awesome. I'd like one!



ZenGum  Monday Sep 7 12:01 AM

Quote:
Dan Phillips .... hates house trailers
So, instead of trailer trash, we just have trash trash.


TheMercenary  Monday Sep 7 09:01 AM

Beautiful work! But this is a truism if there ever was one about socio-economic class:

Quote:
Some of those people simply disappeared, leaving the properties distressingly dirty and in disrepair. “You can put someone in a new home but you can’t give them a new mindset,” Mr. Phillips said.



dar512  Monday Sep 7 05:36 PM

Quote:
“You can put someone in a new home but you can’t give them a new mindset,” Mr. Phillips said.
You can if you start early enough - like early childhood. I heard an article on NPR a couple of weeks ago about Geoffry Canada's project in Harlem. I think it's a great concept and just might make a real difference.

http://www.amazon.com/Whatever-Takes...2359172&sr=8-1


toranokaze  Monday Sep 7 10:12 PM

I want on of those houses



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Sep 7 10:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dar512 View Post
You can if you start early enough - like early childhood.
Sure, but they aren't buying houses at that age. He's talking about changing mindset by providing cheap housing. His experience, and mine, is that doesn't work.
Some people will take low income housing and make it a palace, but I feel those people have that desire, before they're afforded the opportunity.


dar512  Tuesday Sep 8 10:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Sure, but they aren't buying houses at that age. He's talking about changing mindset by providing cheap housing. His experience, and mine, is that doesn't work.
Some people will take low income housing and make it a palace, but I feel those people have that desire, before they're afforded the opportunity.
I agree completely. My point was that it doesn't mean we should give up on trying to break the poverty cycle. It just means this method won't work. And that's the point of the research and foundation I pointed out. They only help the adults to the extent of helping them learn to raise a better generation.


skysidhe  Monday Sep 14 09:25 AM

The trash house is more appealing than the 'heaven of delight' palace. Somehow I find it paradoxical.



uomo  Tuesday Sep 15 03:24 AM

My kind of guy.



DanaC  Tuesday Sep 15 07:51 AM

Welcome uomo!



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